Boston Globe

Roust Cafe, in the former Harvard Square Darwin’s, is calm and relax

Big, satisfying sandwiches, named for locations around town, are still on the menu

Where to Roust Cafe on Mt. Auburn Street in Harvard Square.

Why To see what was going on in the former Darwin’s Ltd., a fixture since 1993.

The backstory Late last year, Darwin’s Ltd. owners Steven and Isabel Darwin closed their four Cambridge coffee and sandwich shops as workers voted to unionize. (There is an initiative by some former staffers to open a worker-owned cafe; they operate as the Circus Cooperative Cafe Crew on GoFundMe.) In February, the original Harvard Square location became Roust, owned by Valentin Hefco, who also owns Tokava in Jamaica Plain (drinks only). Roust’s manager is Mike Spires, who was the general manager when the space was Darwin’s. Where the old spot always seemed a little jammed and harried, Roust is more laid-back. Hefco and Spires are rolling it out slowly. The right-hand side of the storefront has 19 seats; as the weather warms, there will be more out front. The other has groceries, prepared foods, and eventually wine and beer when the license is transferred. Roust is “an invented name,” says Hefco. “I wanted to have a name of my own. I imagine that this name is to invite everyone in the morning for a cup of coffee and a bagel and a sandwich. Roust you out of bed with a cup of coffee.”

What to eat Pick a sandwich, all named for geographic locations in the area, and you’ll be delighted. Breads come from Iggy’s and Nashoba Brook. On the breakfast list, the Harvard Yard starts with toasted sourdough, and holds two eggs, bacon, cheddar, and avocado. Honestly, it’s enough for two, as are most of the choices. The Inman is built on seven-grain bread with eggs, red peppers, cheddar, and tomato. Lunch sandwiches include Darwin’s Mt. Auburn, the only combination exactly as it was before: turkey, Swiss, avocado, tomato, lettuce, mayo, and vinaigrette on sourdough. A delicious messy affair. The Highland stacks ham with pear, pickled onions, and arugula on toasted grainy bread. Hefco is smart to keep the menu short. Everything is nicely made, very satisfying.

Boston Globe

Faro Café in Harvard Square is giving off major Café Pamplona vibes

From 1959 to 2020, people went to 12 Bow St. in Harvard Square for a sense of community. The reason why was the Spanish-styled Café Pamplona, a favorite haunt for students, artists, writers, and other locals. So, when Faro Café opened last December on nearby Arrow Street, those who knew Café Pamplona expected a revival. And it is in a sense.

Faro’s owner, Henry Hoffstot, 32, shares the same goal of establishing a community environment, but his methods are new. “We’re lighting our own torch,” he says.

A warm, cozy space filled with light, Faro offers skillfully crafted frothy coffees made with beans from local roasters, such as Broadsheet in Somerville and Tiny Arms in Lowell. Croissants, pastries, and other breads come from La Saison, a well-regarded Cambridge bakery. It is common to see the indoor tables filled with students and remote workers hunched over laptops (there’s outdoor seating, too).

Hoffstot plans to hold talks, art exhibits, events, music — perhaps even chess nights in the future. And time with “no laptops so people can get off the keyboard and converse,” he says.

Hoffstot lived and worked in finance in Buenos Aires for four years. He was inspired by the city’s vibrant coffee scene, where people used cafés to relax with a cup of coffee rather than work. He opened his shop after returning to the United States, naming it after the Spanish word for lighthouse. Lighthouses are of course meant to shine a light and guide.

5 Arrow St., Cambridge. Open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Flavor Flav Brings His Hip-Hop Knowledge To Harvard University As Guest Lecturer + Gifts Iconic Clock

Flavor Flav was recently a guest lecturer at Harvard University. During his guest tenure at the Ivy League, Flav lectured on hip-hop culture and history. Before stepping off campus, he donated one of his famous clocks to the university.

Flavor Flav was a guest lecturer at Harvard University on April 4. He also visited the school on April 5, completing a two-day visit and lectures on hip-hop.

“How many of y’all had Flavor Flav going to HARVARD on ya bingo cards,” he shared in a Twitter post. “YEAH BOOYYYEEEE”

Hip Hop DX



Flavor Flav has donated his iconic clock chain to Harvard University after the Public Enemy rapper spent the day meeting with students.

Flav visited the Ivy League institution on Tuesday (April 4), and at one point even led a table read of Emily Dickinson’s 1896 poem “A Clock Stopped,” before thematically tying the poem into some of his lyrics.

Flav concluded the reading by handing off his legendary jewelry piece to Professors Henry Louis Gates and Tommie

Dee-1, DJ Stretch Armstrong and Khaliah Ali, the former wife of late boxing legend Muhammad Ali, also stopped by Harvard, as well as Lupe Fiasco, who previously taught at the esteemed university before he was appointed an MLK Visiting Professor at MIT.

Lupe was most recently named a Saybrook Fellow at Yale University, marking the lauded lyricist’s latest honor in the world of higher education.

Boston 25 News

Ice cream break: Supermodel Tyra Banks spotted at J.P. Licks in Harvard Square

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Supermodel Tyra Banks was spotted recently at a popular local ice cream shop: J.P. Licks in Harvard Square.

A well-known international model who has also enjoyed success on the shows, “America’s Next Top Model” and “The Tyra Banks Show,” Banks also has a local tie to Cambridge.

According to The Harvard Crimson, Banks received a certificate from Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program, a nine-week program featuring an application which asks prospective participants for their annual compensations but does not inquire about GPAs or test scores.

And, the popular supermodel-turned-entrepreneur has a love for ice cream.

Banks has launched SMiZE & Dream ice cream, “an inspirational, theatrical, dream-fulfilling company where entertainment and ice cream collide on a global scale,” according to the company’s website.

“Founded by Tyra Banks, SMiZE & Dream’s ice cream has a hidden truffle surprise in every cup, called the SMiZE PRiZE. Strategically located at the bottom of every luxurious serving, the SMiZE PRiZE is a tasty reward after some serious digging – a fun & delicious discovery that appeals to the kid in all of us,” the company said.

The SMiZE PRiZE also “symbolizes what our company stands for: empowering our worldwide community to dig deep and help each other reach for their dreams via our SMiZE & Dreams mentorship programs,” the company said.

Bloomberg Radio

Developer Bruce Percelay and NYC Picks a Fight with Boston

Bloomberg Baystate Business With Tom Moroney, Joe Shortsleeve, Kim Carrigan, Anne Mostue and Janet Wu 3-28-23 Janet Wu speaks with real estate developer Bruce Percelay, Chairman of the Mount Vernon Company, who has been very vocal about the need to shore up First Republic Bank. Anne Mostue speaks with Rachael Meyers, founder of The Collective Co. South Shore, a co-working space for those who live in the suburbs and are tired of working from home. Penelope Finnie, CEO of Egal, discusses possible reservations about working with First Citizens Bank as opposed to working with Silicon Valley Bank. Democratic Party Strategist Scott Ferson discusses the political activity in New Hampshire and MA Senator Elizabeth Warren’s reelection bid. Martha Sheridan, President and CEO of Meet Boston, talks about New York City’s new ad campaign that takes a swipe at Boston. Denise Jillson, Executive Director of the Harvard Square Business Association, talks about Cambridge being named the best U.S. city in which to live by the website Niche.

The Crimson

‘Sustainably Bougie’: Vico Style Ventures Into Harvard Square

Vico Style, a vintage fashion startup that opened last month, aims to help customers “be sustainably bougie on a budget,” according to its founder.

Located on the corner of 73 Mount Auburn St., the Harvard Square location is currently the only permanent Vico Style storefront, but another is set to open in Boston later this month, according to founder Cecilia Hermawan.

Hermawan said the idea for the store emerged from her own “pain point,” as she often purchased secondhand goods to save money while completing her MBA as a single parent.

“I learned that I had to be better with my money because I had to pay for my own tuition. So as a result, I started consuming secondhand goods,” Hermawan said.

Hermawan, who worked for nearly a decade in fashion in the Boston area prior to launching Vico Style, said she decided to start her own business after falling in love with a vintage Irish tweed cape.

“I caught the startup bug,” Hermawan said. “I am not going to wake up when I’m 50 and regret I’m not doing something that I’m passionate about.”

According to Hermawan, the collection of clothing will be rotated every three weeks given the store’s size restrictions. The location has just 200 square feet for selling space, Hermawan said, adding that each set will have its own “vibe.”

“Right now, we have grandparents-core, which is kind of like your grandpa’s blazer type of vibe and your grandmother’s florals and pearls,” Hermawan said. The next collection will feature bright, “dopamine dressing” clothing, with colors like fuschia and aqua.

“Curation is a big part of what we do,” Hermawan added.

Vico Style also offers a subscription service, Hermawan said. Each quarter, the business ships boxes to subscribers containing pieces catered to “life stage.”

“What are you looking for? Are you graduating or you’re about to have internships or whatever it may be? Do you hate animal prints? Do you like textured stuff or mostly solid?” Hermawan said. “We tailor that specifically to you.”

Hermawan said the startup gathers information on customers’ buying habits, with plans to train a machine learning algorithm with the data to “curate really personalized selections that could scale.”

Customers said they were drawn to the Harvard Square storefront by its unique selection and affordability.

“It looks like all the clothing pieces are special and unique,” said customer Emma C. O’Malley ’26. “Someone else you see on the street wouldn’t have the same clothes.”

“I’ve been really into sustainable fashion, vintage stuff these days. And I noticed that they opened and the clothes looked really cute.” Haesung Jee ’23-’24 said, adding that the shop was “welcoming” and “affordable.”

“I feel like a lot of vintage shops in Cambridge, sometimes they really mark up their prices,” Nayleth E. Lopez-Lopez ’23 said.

“You don’t want to try something on, love it, and then not be able to buy it,” Lopez-Lopez added.

Jasdeep K. Gurm ’26, who went to the store on its opening day, wrote in a message that the “vibes” at Vico Style are “immaculate.”

“All of the items were great quality and really reasonably priced! I loved their selection of vintage purses and jewelry,” Gurm wrote.

Boston Globe

Harvard Square was never what it used to be

A new book ponders why we fall in love with commercial centers — and why we ache so much when they change.

A crowd gathered to watch a man play chess master Murray Turnbull, right, in front of the Holyoke Center in Harvard Square on Oct. 16, 1984.
A crowd gathered to watch a man play chess master Murray Turnbull, right, in front of the Holyoke Center in Harvard Square on Oct. 16, 1984.JOE RUNCI

My father took me to Harvard Square quite a bit when I was a kid.

We’d browse at Wordsworth, flip through the CDs at Newbury Comics, and sit at a high top at 33 Dunster Street, where I’d order a Shirley Temple and a cheeseburger with fries.

I was too young to understand the square’s mystique but not too young to feel it: the Ivy League heft and, a couple of decades after Joan Baez debuted at Club 47, the tendrils of bohemia.

My dad was in his element there. I liked that.

Over the lunch, he’d tell me about the Richard Thompson album he’d just picked up. And we’d talk Red Sox and school and summer camp.

How Uphams Corner got wealthier without getting whiterWhere white people go, where Black people go: Cellphone data reveals how segregated Bostonians are in their movements

Then we’d make our way back to whatever beater he was driving at the moment and head home, a little happier than we’d arrived.

My dad died years ago. And as an adult, I haven’t spent as much time in Harvard Square. But a couple of weeks ago, I took my 14-year-old daughter and her friend across the Charles in search of some of the feeling I’d had as a kid.

The Crimson

Harvard Students Developing App to Connect Boston’s Unhoused People with Essential Resources

Local undergraduates are developing an app to connect Greater Boston’s unhoused population to essential resources, with hopes to launch in the coming weeks.

The app — known as “Alliance for the Homeless” or “Allforth,” for short — will use a map to display food, shelter, and medical resources offered at different locations in a user’s vicinity.

Benjamin Chang ’23-’24, the team’s executive director, said his experience working at Y2Y — a student-run shelter for unhoused young adults in Harvard Square — motivated him to develop the app.

“There are a lot of resources out there for the homeless community in Boston and Cambridge, and the shelters have a lot of information about it,” Chang said. “But something that I noticed was that a lot of the homeless guests that we had did not actually have access to the information, even though it was online.”

Chang said an app is an efficient way to reach the unhoused population and provide them with personalized information, citing his own observation that many Y2Y guests own a cellphone.

“We have a bunch of data from the Y2Y as well as different homeless shelters in the area, so we’re just compiling that data and putting it onto a map to make it more accessible to the homeless community here in Boston,” Allforth Director of Resources Harold Peón Castro ’25 said.

In his research for Allforth, Peón Castro — a director at HSHS, another student-run unhoused shelter in Harvard Square — said he discovered that an app with a centralized set of resources for unhoused people does not exist in Boston.

“I was surprised to research and find that there doesn’t really exist an app that’s done this before — a centralized directory for the resources here in Boston, or really a model that’s scalable to other cities, which I think is something that Ben has thought about doing further down the line,” Peón Castro said, referring to Chang.

Chang offered community fridges as an example of a resource that Allforth plans to include in its app.

“Harold’s found over 20 community fridges just in the Boston, Cambridge area,” Chang said, referring to Peón Castro. “What is the point of an amazing resource like that if it’s not being utilized by the people who need it the most?”

Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, established in 1993, operates out of the basement of University Lutheran Church on 66 Winthrop St.

Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, established in 1993, operates out of the basement of University Lutheran Church on 66 Winthrop St. By Truong L. Nguyen

Chang said the response to his initial email recruiting interested students for app development was “inspiring,” adding he received “double digit sign-ups within an hour.” Allforth’s team comprises both students from a variety of concentrations at Harvard and from other local universities such as Tufts and Boston University, according to Chang.

“I think it’s great that we’re able to actually connect the people who want to help also with the people who need this help,” he added.

As for the team environment, Director of Engineering Kushal Chattopadhyay ’25 described the technical side as “collaborative,” with tasks being delegated to individuals “from different angles, but all of it coming together at the very end.”

Chang said once the app is released, it would be relatively easy to expand the app’s reach to include unhoused populations in other regions worldwide.

“We are potentially thinking about scaling this up to other high-need areas around the country or around the world,” Chang said.

“Once you have the platform, you can just add more data, and you can connect people with resources wherever there is location data for it,” Chang added.



Will the iconic venue ever return to its rock roots as has been rumored?

When I first discovered the Harvard Square Theatre on a lunch break from work, it felt like I had realized its potential all on my own. Although boarded up and broken down, the venue’s unassuming exterior sparked my curiosity.

I was working as an event host on Palmer Street for the 2022 pop-up exhibition, the Art of Banksy. I was in the rare and somewhat disturbing mood of believing that I can do anything. And at the time, what I really wanted to do was open a nightclub.

I was keen on finding the perfect location for this imaginary destination. As I rounded the corner and a building cast a shadow on an otherwise sunny Church Street, I looked up and realized I was standing underneath a weathered marquee. Just below it was a painted sign that read “Harvard Square Theatre,” along with some bolted up, graffitied entrances.

This was it. The perfect location. I thought, How could it be closed? 

At the time, I didn’t know anything about the building at 10 Church St.