BOSTON - When Crema Cafe closed its doors late last year it wasn’t the end of an era, contrary to popular sentiment. Harvard Square hasn’t had an “era” outside of multi-chain conglomerates and a handful of stalwart institutions half remembered by aging boomers since the late 1990s.
Can’t even find an underbrush at JFK park to guzzle a bottle of MD 20/20 anymore? Don’t incriminate yourself. But when Leavitt & Pearce or the Hong Kong eventually find themselves sold for a cool 2.5 millie or so, you can officially state the death of Cambridge ended neither with a bang nor an adenoidal whimper but an emoji.
But Crema was only ten years old when it closed its doors in December. Which, in a post-post-gentrification industry, qualifies any independent coffee shop for unicorn status. And whatever can be said about the preconceived stereotypes of self congratulatory pretense many independent coffee shops might blatantly pander to.
If the thought of a Pret a Manger on every other block doesn’t immediately make you shudder then there’s really no helping you. Unless it’s their Australian equivalent. Excuse me, their Australian influenced equivalent.
You might think of many things when you think of Australia. Rugby. Oil cans of warm beer. Kylie Minogue. But you probably don’t think of food culture—or coffee shops, for that matter.
Yes, you may have heard about spaghetti on toast for breakfast. Chances are, it’s as much of an urban myth as a Taco Bell in China. But Bluestone Lane promises you the authentic Australian cafe experience. One you can only get from a New York based chain with partial ownership by the head of the Miami Dolphins.
When news that Bluestone Lane would be taking over the premises vacated by Crema came earlier this year, it seemed like it would have been just another in a long line of virtually expendable chains masquerading as artisanal cafes. The Tim Horton’s of… well, Tim Horton’s. And that’s largely because it is. An expendable chain seeking a reported $100 million U.S. expansion that aims to (in the words of Bluestone CEO and former professional soccer player Nicholas Stone) “help our Australian-influenced coffee culture reach more customers and ideally become part of their genuine, daily escape.”
"Millennial customers are discerning and focused on more than simply a caffeinated product,” Stone told Bloomberg last year. “That's why Bluestone is focused on a providing a broader experience that includes service and aesthetic elements as well as freshly prepared food like avocado toast."
So what can you expect from Bluestone Lane? A seasonal, health conscious menu which varies at each location. In addition to the aforementioned avocado toast, they’re also known for lemon ricotta pancakes, cauliflower sandwiches and goat cheese eggs on toast in addition to decaf alternative specialty drinks made from turmeric, beetroot and macha. They’ve been dubbed the “ideal post workout meal” from suburban Philadelphia-based physical trainers and “the beverages of the Instagram generation,” from the likes of Vogue magazine. And, not surprisingly, they’re “firm believers that breakfast / brunch is turning into the new happy hour,” echoing the words of the Today show’s Amy DiLuna: “Blame adulting: Instead of partying until the wee hours of the night, wellness-minded people are taking the early-bird approach.”
Uh, Amy? If you see someone in front of Bluestone chain-smoking nervously with his head in his hands, just remember. You could’ve had the Tasty. But a bunch of oily creeps with deeper pockets than even you can aspire to wanted an Abercrombie & Fitch. Hope you’re happy.
Bluestone Lane is located at 27 Brattle St in Cambridge and will be opening this Friday, November 8. For more information, visit Bluestone Lane Cambridge
Image Via Wikimedia Commons