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Broadway World

Saint Paul’s Choir School Performs Annual ‘Christmas in Harvard Square’

Saint Paul’s Choir School (SPCS) presents “Christmas in Harvard Square,” a concert of festive seasonal Christmas music, on Sundays, December 10 and 17, 3 pm, at St. Paul’s Parish, 29 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge. SPCS’s Boys’ Choir, perform together with the Schola of St. Paul’s, Back Bay Brass, and instrumental accompaniment, including percussion, harp, and organ. The program includes many traditional favorites, including SPCS Founder Theodore Marier’s beloved setting of “Silent Night,” musical selections from the 10th through 21st centuries, including a plainsong “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and the Nigerian carol “Betelehemu.” General, reserved, and premium seating tickets range from $35 to $70, available at christmasinharvardsquare.com.

“Christmas in Harvard Square,” features a delightful mix of traditional and contemporary music of composers Benjamin Britten, Franz Biebl, Herbert Howells, Theodore Marier, among others. Audiences return yearly to this joyful celebration of the Christmas season, a beloved annual tradition, sung by one of the few boy choirs in the United States. Attendees enjoy the rare opportunity to hear the boy choristers perform in concert, offering a program that transcends their weekly Mass duties and worship services at St. Paul’s Parish.

SPCS Interim Director of Music Richard Webster leads the ensemble, together with Associate Music Director Brandon Straub. Webster brings an impressive five decades of experience to his appointment for the 2023-24 academic year, previously serving as director of music and as organist at Trinity Church in Copley Square for 17 years, and 29 years as organist and choirmaster at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, Illinois, where he directed its Choir of Men and Boys and the Girls Choir to much acclaim.

“I’ve held only three jobs in my life, and this, in the best way, is by far the most challenging,” says Webster, a nod to his appointment at St. Paul’s Choir School. “To serve a school that’s very serious about music means that I still have the privilege of growing and learning myself.”

St. Paul’s Choir School is the only all-boys Catholic choir school in the United States, sustaining longtime collaborations with Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

“Christmas in Harvard Square is a unique twist on what you would normally hear at St. Paul’s. This is not Mass, it’s not Vespers, it’s a concert of traditional sacred music, and music that’s not at all traditional. It offers multicultural works, several helming from faraway places,” explains Webster. 

Those attending the concert also have the chance to join the choir in singing the traditional favorite carols “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Once in Royal David’s City,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” and “Come All Ye Faithful.” This traditional concert experience is enriched by St. Paul’s outstanding acoustic, which Webster touts as “one of the best in the Boston area.”

To learn more about “Christmas in Harvard Square,” or to order tickets, visit christmasinharvardsquare.com. To learn about Saint Paul’s Choir School’s enrollment, curriculum, programs and performances, visit saintpaulschoirschool.us, call 617-868-8658, or follow St. Paul’s Choir School Harvard Square on social media.

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Boston Business Journal

Clover Food Lab files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Clover Food Lab
A Clover Food Lab location in Harvard Square in Cambridge.

The Boston-area healthy-eating chain Clover Food Lab has filed for bankruptcy protection, with its CEO describing troubles stemming from the pandemic and the lending environment following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

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Boston Restaurant Talk

Blank Street Coffee Is Opening in Cambridge’s Harvard Square on November 16

A growing group of coffee shops and coffee carts based in New York City will soon be opening a fourth outlet in the local area, nearly a year after it was first announced.

According to a press release, Blank Street Coffee is slated to open in Cambridge on November 16, moving into a space on Mass. Ave. in Harvard Square that had previously been home to a location of Starbucks. The new location will join others locally on Boylston Street in the Back Bay, Charles Street in Beacon Hill, and Cambridge Street also in Beacon Hill, along with others in Manhattan, Brooklyn (where it started out), and elsewhere.

The address for the new location of Blank Street Coffee in Harvard Square is 1380 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02138. The website for the business can be found at https://www.blankstreet.com/

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The Boston Globe

Hillel Stavis, innovative founder of Harvard Square’s WordsWorth Books, dies

Wordsworth bookstore owner Hillel Stavis with wife Donna Friedman on the day the store closed after 28 years as a Harvard Sq. landmark.
Wordsworth bookstore owner Hillel Stavis with wife Donna Friedman on the day the store closed after 28 years as a Harvard Sq. landmark.

For Hillel Stavis, who first sold books part time as a high school student, there was something almost spiritual about spending time in a sanctuary of book-lined shelves.

“That reverential moment when somebody walks into a bookstore,” he told the Globe in 1997, “is a different kind of experience from entering a clothing store or supermarket.”

When he launched his own bookstore, though, he had his feet firmly planted on the ground — on sidewalks, to be precise. Scouting Greater Boston locations and calculating foot traffic, he settled on Harvard Square, where he opened WordsWorth Books on Brattle Street in 1976. Even though the neighborhood already had bookshops, he saw it was full of readers walking with books in hand.

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Broadway World

Club Passim Unveils Lineup For 21st Annual Boston Celtic Music Festival

The festival will feature performances by Le Vent du Nord and other artists across venues in Cambridge and Somerville, MA.

The 21st annual Boston Celtic Music Festival will return to Club Passim and Harvard Square, with added venues like the Crystal Ballroom, The Burren, and The Rockwell on January 11-14, 2024. The festival will showcase Greater Boston’s deep tradition of music, song, and dance from Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, and other Celtic communities. BCMFest features traditional acts and others that draw on contemporary sounds and ideas, full-time, professional touring acts, and local session musicians, highlighting performers from across the generations. Tickets are on sale now at passim.org/bcmfest

This year, the festival will include the award-winning and highly acclaimed Québec band Le Vent du Nord, performing at the Nightcap Finale on Saturday, January 13 at the Crystal Ballroom. The group’s vast repertoire draws from both traditional sources and original compositions. At the same time, their highly rhythmic and soulful music, rooted in the Celtic diaspora, is enhanced with a broad range of global influences.

Among the acts confirmed to perform are: Joey Abarta, Jenna Moynihan, Neil Pearlman & the Wallbreakers, Mariel Vandersteel, Casey Murray & Molly Tucker, Triga, Cape Breton, Highland Dance Boston, Ramblxr, Boston Scottish Fiddle Orchestra, Scottish Fish, Pine Tree Flyers, Firefly Landing, Eight Feet Tall, Isabel Oliart and Friends, The Carroll Sisters with Sammy Wetstein, Elias Cardoso, Medford All-Star Ceili Band, Jinty Mcgrath, Calico, Erin Hogan & Jimmy Kelly, No Seconds, Emma Azelborn, Elizabeth and Ben Anderson, Sarah Ann Hajjar, and Sarah Collins & Jonathan Vocke.

“Considered to be the epicenter of Celtic music in America, Boston has maintained its historical reputation of being home to some of the most prolific Celtic musicians in the country. The Boston Celtic Music Festival represents the heart of our vibrant local Celtic music scene,” said Summer McCall, BCMFest Director. “This year we’re delighted to be at both our home venue of Club Passim in Harvard Square, and to be expanding into Davis Square for Friday night and Saturday day and night at the Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theatre, The Burren, and The Rockwell.”

Festival highlights include:

  • The First Round concert on Thursday, January 11, at 7pm provides a night of the more traditional sounds of Celtic music in Boston. This evening’s concert will take place at Club Passim with performances from Joey Abarta, Jenna Moynihan, and Neil Pearlman & The Wallbreakers.
  • Friday, January 12 at 7pm is the Roots and Branches Concert. Guests can experience the dynamic sounds and diverse styles of Boston’s Celtic music community, with music from Mariel Vandersteel, Triga, and Casey Murray & Molly Tucker.
  • BCMFest: Boston Urban Ceilidh will occur on Friday, January 12 at 7:30pm at the Crystal Ballroom. The night will feature participatory and social dances from the Cape Breton and Scottish traditions, all with live music. 
  • BCMFest: Dayfest offers over six hours of entertainment from mid-morning until 5 pm on Saturday, January 13. All events will occur in Davis Sq. in Somerville at The Crystal Ballroom, The Burren, and The Rockwell.
  • BCMFest: Nightcap with Le Vent Du Nord – Capping BCMFest 2024 on Saturday, January 13, at 8pm at the Crystal Ballroom will be a performance by the award-winning and highly acclaimed band Le Vent du Nord.
  • Enjoy some fine food in a relaxed live Celtic music atmosphere on Sunday, January 14, at the BCMFest Brunch at Club Passim from 10am – 2pm. 
  • Festival performers will lead workshops on Sunday, January 14, at the Passim School of Music at 26 Church Street in Harvard Sq. More details are coming soon.

BCMFest takes place from January 11-14. All festival details including performances, times, and locations are available at passim.org/bcmfest

The Boston Globe

Lines out the door for New York slices in Harvard Square, thanks to Joe’s Pizza

Fresh slices of pepperoni and cheese pizza at Joe’s Pizza. ERIN CLARK/GLOBE STAFF

Where to: Joe’s Pizza in Harvard Square.

Why: For a real New York slice, served until 3 a.m.

The backstory: In the late 1950s, Joe Pozzuoli came to the United States from Naples. He’d learned how to make pizza growing up in Italy, and eventually he opened the first Joe’s in Greenwich Village in 1975 at the corner of Bleecker and Carmine, back when the neighborhood still had the whiff of anti-establishment grit, and where everyone knew his name. It felt and operated like a dive bar, dark and simple, with late-night hours and zero frills.

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NCB Boston

The Sea Hag opens in the former Boathouse space in Harvard Square

A new restaurant has come to the heart of Cambridge, taking over the space where another dining spot had been for a bit more than 10 years.
According to a source (Tom Meek), The Sea Hag is now open in Harvard Square, moving into the former Boathouse space on Mt Auburn Street. An earlier Cambridge Day article mentioned that the new spot has an ownership connection with the nearby Grendel’s Den, and much like that place, The Sea Hag has a bit of an English pub vibe to it, according to owner Kari Kuelzer. The menu at the new restaurant includes such items as Jamaican beef patties, fried pickles, smash burgers, chicken sandwiches, fish and chips, seared scallops, shrimp cocktail, potatoes au gratin, and scones, along with beer and wine.
The address for The Sea Hag is 49 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138. Its website can be found at https://www.seahag02138.com/
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The Harvard Crimson

Hundreds Haunt Harvard Square for Halloween Block Party

A Halloween block party lit up Harvard Square over the weekend, bringing live artists, excited crowds, and glowing art installations to JFK Street ahead of the holiday.

Organized by the Harvard Square Business Association and the City of Cambridge, Harvard Square’s Illuminated Halloween Block Party drew hundreds of Cambridge and Boston area residents Friday and Saturday evening, from children dressed up as astronauts and princesses to adults masquerading as pirates and ghouls.

The celebration featured a variety of performances, including classic rock band Rumboat Chili on Friday and Berklee College of Music student Lumanyano Mzi on Saturday.

Harvard Square was transformed into a light show during the celebration, with many attendees wearing glowing bracelets against the backdrop of a dynamic art installation, which projected scenes and optical illusions on the sides of buildings lining the street.

Also lighting up the Square was an interactive installation by art studio Pneuhaus called “Canopy,” which used bike-driven generators to inflate and illuminate vibrant neon tree sculptures. Children and adults alike lined up to pedal the bikes and power the exhibit.

Pneuhaus co-founder Levi Bedall said the project helped people understand energy in a unique way, adding that it could make the idea of “going green” feel “more tangible.”

“Power can be generated through lots of ways,” Bedall said. “As simple as turning a wheel with your legs, you can create power to power LEDs and a fan, which I think is hard to really get your mind around.”

Attendees also said they appreciated the participation of local businesses in addition to the immersive art installations.

“It’s nice to see people getting together in their communities and appreciating the local businesses and coming together to appreciate the arts, and the music is really good,” said attendee Rebecca L. Rutherford.

El Jefe’s Taqueria hosted a beer garden that bustled with activity both nights, and Russell House Tavern was also packed with partygoers during the celebration.

“It’s a very nice sort of social escape for a lot of people at this point with everything going on,” said attendee Ahmad A. Naqvi, a post-doctoral student at Harvard Medical School.

As fun as it was for many residents to celebrate in costume in Harvard Square, the Halloween theme was the product of coincidence — the block party was originally intended to coincide with the 58th Head of the Charles Regatta, but was postponed by a week due to rain.

Organizers quickly rebranded the event to match its rescheduled dates, which fell right before Halloween.

Regardless of the party’s theme, Denise A. Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, said she was glad to see so many residents turn out for the celebration.

“The decision was made to attempt to create a little street that would be more pedestrian-friendly on the weekend,” Jillson said. “It’s really lovely to build a community that’s safe and clean and welcoming.”

“When you have events like this and the community responds, and they come out to support it, it feels good, and it feels like an accomplishment,” she added.

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Universal Hub

Review: A taguarita adds cozy to Harvard Square

Arepa Jardinera.

Orinoco Harvard Square
56 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge

We’d heard many good things lately about Orinoco, a Latin kitchen inspired by “taguaritas,” rustic, family-run eateries found along Venezuelan roadsides, so we decided to drop by and check their array of Venezuelan and Latin American cuisines for ourselves.

Orinoco has three Boston locations: South End, Brookline Village, and Harvard Square. The Harvard Square location is tucked away behind a sweet little recessed archway under the trees, so, even before entering, we were immediately struck by the intimate and inviting atmosphere. Inside, the decor was tastefully done, with a mix of folk art and family photography adorning the walls. The dim lighting and soft music in the background set the perfect mood for a relaxed dining experience, and we immediately agreed that it looks like a great spot for a date. Especially if you sit out on the lovely outdoor patio.

The Maracuchitos:

The Maracuchitos

The menu is digital and a bit disordered, but offers an enticing array of dishes. On the vegetarian side of things, most of the exciting options are some combination of carb and cheese. We ordered Maracuchitos ($7.75), Arepa La Gringa ($6.75), Arepa Jardinera ($7), Cachapa ($15) and Torta Fluida ($7).

The Maracuchitos – queso Paisa wrapped in sweet fried plantains – were wonderful. The plantains were soft and lush but had lovely chewy edges. The combination of the creamy salty cheese and the sweet and tangy plantains created a flavor explosion. One of us doesn’t usually like plantains, but loved this dish.

Arepa La Gringa:

Arepa La Gringa

The Arepa La Gringa was stuffed with shredded, unmelted edam cheese. To our taste both the filling and the bread were a bit dry, and there was nothing really to marry the one with the other. The Arepa Jardinera also features cheese, as well as sweet plantains, and guasacaca, which is a tangy avocado sauce. The individual elements were fine, but altogether the combination was not cohesive.

The Cachapa:

The Cachapa

The Cachapa, which we ordered with only the queso de mano, was the unexpected (but nevertheless deserving) favorite food item. This is a tender sweet corn pancake overflowing with melted queso de mano. More sweet than you are probably thinking right now, though not overwhelmingly so, and certainly not dessert sweet. The slight saltiness of the handmade cheese really underlines that sweetness and makes it shine. For this dish alone, we would visit again.

Torta Fluida:

Torta Fluida

For dessert, we split a Torta Fluida, a molten chocolate cake, which the menu boasts is made with “100 percent Venezuelan dark chocolate.” This adorable individual cake came to us piping hot. It had a beautifully light crumb and was absolutely brimming with melted dark chocolate. Dark chocolate was such an excellent choice for this cake, as it cuts the sweetness and gives it more depth of flavor. Thus our meal ended on a high note.

While most of the dishes we ordered hit the mark, in the end, Orinoco left us with mixed feelings. While we had high expectations for the arepas, they felt like a miss compared to the other options, and the service was somewhat slow and inattentive. But while the experience had its ups and downs, we definitely appreciated the restaurant’s charm, the cachapa, and the chocolate cake.

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Boston.com

Here’s where to eat and drink around Harvard Square

Wusong Road
Grass lights hang over the bar at Wusong Road.

In Harvard Square, you will find a neighborhood bustling with students, neighbors, and first-time visitors. But the area is also home to a number of restaurants and bars, whether you’re looking for a burger with fries or a cocktail to sip on with brunch.

To help you navigate a host of enjoyable options, we’ve put together a guide to some of the most popular eateries and bars in the Cambridge neighborhood. Between browsing for books at the local shops or attending the Head of the Charles Regatta, you’re sure to find a new favorite spot.

Where to eat

Alden & Harlow

Beneath the Brattle Theater, you’ll find this hip, subterranean New American restaurant that’s perfect for a night out. While you’re browsing the menu, think of ordering the basil pasta served with carrot bolognese, the Secret Burger on a housemade roll, or the Ora King salmon served with ratatouille. Don’t miss out on dessert—the smoked chocolate bread pudding is a winner in our book.

40 Brattle St., Cambridge

Bosso Ramen Tavern

This izakaya opened last year, and since then, it’s become a neighborhood fixture. Bosso Ramen Tavern serves sushi, sake, and ramen, made with a homemade broth. For those who don’t eat meat, the vegan ramen includes soy meat, cashews, walnuts, and red chili oil. After a flavorful entree, cleanse your palate with the black sesame ice cream. A new Back Bay location is slated to open January 2024.

24 Holyoke St., Cambridge

Felipe’s Mexican Taqueria

A casual spot on Brattle Street, Felipe’s is the place to go when you need a Mexican food fix. Order the Baja-style tacos, made with a choice of lightly breaded shrimp or fish, or enjoy nachos made with extra melted cheese, refried beans, and more. Reader Elaine S. from Belmont said, “A lot has changed in Harvard Square. Felipe’s is still a great and affordable social space with a limited but authentic selection of Mexican food… Best margaritas in Camberville.”

21 Brattle St., Cambridge

Henrietta’s Table

Inside the Charles Hotel, you may stumble upon Henrietta’s Table, a homey farm-to-table spot that sources produce from local purveyors and serves up classic New England cuisine. If you’re sitting down to brunch, you may want to order the salmon burger, served with spicy tartar sauce and mixed greens. For supper, you can dig into a Yankee pot roast, served with crispy shallots and gravy. Stop by, if you’d like to enjoy a great meal.

1 Bennett St., Cambridge

Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage

Students love this joint, where you can build your own burger or choose from one of their creatively named options, like the Joe Biden or the T-Swift. Reader Gene D. from Waltham called the spot “a local landmark,” adding that “the service is always friendly and fast, the campus ambiance is strong, and most importantly, the food is tasty! I’ve been dining there for years, and Mr. Bartley’s burgers are the best in the Boston area!”

1246 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

Orinoco Kitchen

For quality Venezuelan dining, visit Orinoco Kitchen. Try one of their many arepa options or the empanadas, which can be ordered with fillings like shredded beef or forest mushrooms, piquillo peppers, and cheese. The restaurant also serves a marinated chicken adobo that you can choose to eat with malanga gnocchi. The molten chocolate cake, made with pure dark chocolate, is a decadent finish. Orinoco also has locations in the South End and in Brookline Village.

56 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge

Source Restaurant

Craving a slice of pizza? Head over to Source, which features “rustic yet refined food.” Neapolitan pies are cooked in a wood-fired oven, and you can choose from a variety of flavors: the classic margherita, the Tuscan kale, pepperoni, New York style, and more. You’ll also find pasta dishes on their menu, from the bucatini in a carbonara sauce to tagliatelli with bolognese sauce. Cocktails, wine, and beer round out their offerings.

27 Church St, Cambridge

The Hourly Oyster House

If you’re looking to dine on seafood from New England and beyond, visit The Hourly Oyster House on Dunster Street. Order a seafood tower for your party, or fill up on blackened swordfish tacos, lobster rolls, or crusted halibut. Reader Mayor from Watertown said they have a great vibe and offer the best oysters in Boston. “It was better before COVID, but when we want oysters and can’t drive to the South Shore, we always come here,” she said.

15 Dunster St., Cambridge

Where to drink

Grafton Street Pub & Grill

Get a drink at Grafton Street, an Irish gastropub that is both contemporary and inviting. You’ll discover draft beers here, such as the Oxbow Brewing Company Punch Brook and the Remnant Brewing Fest Lager, as well as ciders and spirits. To celebrate the fall, try a cocktail like the Shave & a Haircut, composed of Bumbu rum, pumpkin puree, fresh lime, ginger beer, and shaved nutmeg.

59 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge

Grendel’s Den Restaurant & Bar

Students frequent Grendel’s, a neighborhood tavern with beer on draft, sangria by the pitcher, and a range of cocktails. The spot offers “horoscope drinks,” a rotating selection of beverages based on the astrological charts, and now is Libra season, the time for silver rum, pineapple juice, triple sec, and more. Grendel’s also hosts live events, from music, to storytelling and poetry. Having been in the Square for over 50 years, they’re a classic haunt.

89 Winthrop St., Cambridge

Noir Bar

Noir Bar is a chic late-night lounge inside the Charles Hotel. Look out for craft cocktails like the Fleur de Lys, made with vodka, lime, herbes de Provence, and pear. Try the Monte Carlo Flip, which incorporates Italian amaro Averna, Amaro Sibilla, super cacao, and a whole egg. If you’re still wishing you had a bite to accompany your drink, request a flatbread, painted burrata, or a croque-monsieur. Noir promises to be an enjoyable night out with friends.

1 Bennett St., Cambridge

Russell House Tavern

A lively and comfortable spot, Russell House Tavern is a great place to sip drinks after work, boasting an extensive beer, wine, and cocktail list. You may be drawn in by the dirty chai martini, which combines chai vodka, coffee liqueur, cold brew concentrate, and Irish cream, or the mango chili daiquiri. To go with your beverages, order the local oysters, crab cakes, or the roasted Atlantic cod.

14 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge

Wusong Road Tiki Bar

Hidden away in “the outskirts of Harvard Square,” Wusong Road marries Asian American cuisine and tropical Tiki escapism. Drinks include the Scorpion Bowl, made with brandy, almond Orgeat, rum, gin, grenadine, and fresh orange and lime juices, as well as the Jungle Bird, which mixes together two kinds of rum, Campari, pineapple juice, and lime juice. You’ll find some bites on the menu here too, such as coconut glazed spareribs and Aloha sliders.

112 Mt Auburn St., Cambridge