Crema Cafe will say goodbye to Harvard Square after 10 years

"I think that along with being an end of an era, there’s really a lot to appreciate."

Location: 27 Brattle St., CambridgeIn the thick of Brattle Square, Crema sells quiche, baked goods, and coffee. It has a second floor where guests can sit to eat or study and also has outdoor seating. Scott Kirsner ranked it as tied for third with the Riverbend Bar & Grill. Shown: Harvard senior Joanna Miller sat in the balcony at Crema Cafe in Harvard Square on May 16, 2008.
Popular study spot and coffee shop Crema Cafe will close in a few weeks. –Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/File 2008

After 10 years of caffeinating Cambridge locals and students, Crema Cafe is closing its doors.

The Harvard Square staple posted an Instagram message about the shuttering on Monday, writing, “With a deep sense of appreciation, pride and sorrow, we must share with you, our dear friends, and community, that we will be closing. Thank you to each and every one of you who has been a part of this amazing journey. We are humbled and beyond grateful. There is no way to capture all that has been gained from this past decade or truly thank ALL those who have touched or been touched by Crema.”


Co-owner Liza Shirazi, who opened Crema in 2008 with her business partner Marley Brush, said that she and Brush were not able to renew their 10-year lease after it ended in March, at which point they began a month-to-month lease. Asana Partners, a North Carolina-based real estate investment firm, bought the building that houses Crema in 2017.

“It was the type of thing where we had to give [Asana Partners] a proposal to stay, and by the time we did, they basically told us that they were in negotiations with someone else,” Shirazi said.

Asana Partners did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Crema’s Instagram post prompted a slew of forlorn comments about what the coffee shop has meant to various people over the years, with some writing, “I feel like a home is lost and Harvard Square just won’t ever be the same,” and, “We are devastated.”

“We do have a lot of people who come here every single day,” Shirazi said. “We’ve been a part of their daily ritual. Seeing their reactions and how it’s impacting their life has been really hard. It’s been an important place for us, too.”

Crema is set to close the week before Christmas — there isn’t a scheduled date yet — but Shirazi will be busy opening another project just a few days later: the second location of Revival Cafe + Kitchen, in Somerville’s Davis Square. Shirazi opened the first location of Revival this past summer with another business partner, Steve “Nookie” Postal, near the Alewife station in North Cambridge.


Revival offers coffee from roasters like George Howell, Passenger, and Tandem, along with plenty of Crema food favorites including the Jimmy pesto breakfast sandwich, turkey and jicama sandwich, and bakery staples. There are new additions, too, like the kimchi breakfast bowl and pulled chicken sandwich.

In the final weeks of Crema, Shirazi said she’s going to enjoy hearing all of the stories people have associated with the café, as well as remembering her own special moments, like the time the Crema team created a flash mob for a staff member who got engaged.

“Marley and I were 24 at the time [we opened Crema], just getting into the business,” Shirazi said. “It’s been a wonderful time getting to know so many people. … I think that along with being an end of an era, there’s really a lot to appreciate. I just keep my fingers crossed that some of that charm is not completely lost in this community. Harvard Square seems to be changing.”