‘Cambridge is a ghost town’: A popular Kendall Square brunch spot is closing for good

The Friendly Toast had served breakfast fare in Kendall Square since 2009.

06/21/2011 - Cambridge, MA - Kendall Square - The Friendly Toast at 1 Kendall Square was hopping for lunch on Tuesday, June 21, 2011.  Kendall Square in Cambridge is the worldwide nexus for life sciences, typified in the Boston area by industry powerhouses Genzyme and Biogen. Harvard University is looking to transform its extensive land holdings in Allston-Brighton into another such hotbed for science. For an article examining the path that Kendall Square took from a textile heavy industrial park to the current-day metal-and-glass office-park atmosphere. Story slugged: 26kendall.  Story by Meg Woolhouse/Globe Staff. Dina Rudick/Globe Staff.
The Friendly Toast in Kendall Square. –Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

A Cambridge brunch hotspot that temporarily closed at the start of the coronavirus pandemic is shutting its doors permanently.

The Friendly Toast, a local chain of breakfast spots with six locations in three states, announced that its Cambridge location in Kendall Square is closed for good.

“We are saddened to announce that we will not be reopening our Kendall Square – Cambridge, MA location,” the restaurant posted on Facebook. “We have a long and happy history there full of great memories and this is a tough moment for us. Over the last couple months, we’ve been slowly and safely reopening our restaurants with every precaution in mind to keep our team and guests safe. We cannot thank you all enough for our overwhelmingly positive support we’ve received in these very challenging restaurant and life times.”

Advertisement

The company previously announced on Twitter that its Cambridge location would reopen on July 30, but that never happened. Instead, the popular brunch spot became the latest in a string of restaurants to close permanently amid the pandemic.

Friendly Toast owner Scott Pulver told Boston.com that he made the decision to close because of uncertainty as to when students and workers would return to the Kendall Square area in full force.

“The bodies just aren’t there,” Pulver said. “I was walking through Harvard Square the other day, and there was like seven people there. We’ve reopened five of our six stores. We’re still a strong brand, we’re still doing really good sales elsewhere. But Cambridge is a ghost town.”

The Friendly Toast first opened in Portsmouth, N.H., in the ’90s before opening another outpost, the now-closed Kendall Square spot, in 2009. Its Cambridge location proved to be a popular weekend brunch spot for students and families alike, with most breakfast plates coming with a choice of the restaurant’s specialty toast, oversized slices that come in tasty varieties like cayenne cheddar and anadama, a bread baked with molasses.

Chicken and waffles at The Friendly Toast. —Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

In recent years, the company began to expand, with its third location, in Boston’s Back Bay, opening in 2015. Then came a planned Brookline location in 2017 that never came to fruition, as well as new outposts in the Burlington Mall and Burlington, Vermont, in 2018 and Bedford, N.H., in 2019.

Advertisement

Pulver confirmed that he is “actively looking” for a new restaurant space in Cambridge, with the hopes of reopening once things go back to normal.

“There’s a ridiculous amount of restaurant space coming up in Cambridge,” Pulver said. “We’re just waiting for Cambridge to come back to life.”

Get Boston.com's browser alerts:

Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.

Turn on notifications

Great, you’re signed up!

Jump To Comments