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For Better Or For Wurst

Posted by Jim Botticelli  February 12, 2014 04:25 PM

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Wurst haus.jpg
The Wursthaus was a Harvard Square landmark frequented by locals and visitors alike
Photo courtesy of the Cambridge Historical Society

Serving sauerbraten and schnitzel washed down with beers from around the world, the Wursthaus lasted 79 years as a Harvard Square institution. Located next door to The Tasty in the now demolished Read Block Building, it first opened in 1917 and was bought by Frank Cardullo in 1942. Cardullo is better known for his self-named gourmet shop located across from the Wursthaus which he opened in 1950.
Photo from

By the mid 80s, the Wursthaus was clearing over $3 million a year but with the Red Line extension allowing riders to bypass Harvard Square altogether, the changing face of the area from a collection of funky one-off shops to the corporate landscape people complain of today, business began slowing. Coupled with an increase in health conscious diners, the meat and beer joint that had expanded from 50 to 500 seats suddenly fell out of favor with the masses. Cardullo filed for Chapter 11.

"There are certain restaurants, bookstores, and establishments that do a lot to define the special quality and tradition of the Square," said Derek Bok, former Harvard president at the time of its closing. "The Wursthaus is one of those establishments."

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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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