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Jul 30, 2007 08:15 AM

What's going on with Toscanini's?


The Harvard Square location seems to have disappeared, and the Somerville "Toscanini and Sons" bakery changed its name to "The Biscuit" but has kept the same (mediocre) baked goods. Is the Central Square location still there? BTW---I tried Lizzy's ice cream (Harvard Square) for the first time last night and it was excellent. Possibly better than Christina's, except the flavors are not as interesting.

  1. The Harvard Square location closed for the duration of the construction project that's happening to that building and those around it. I believe Toscanini's hopes to reopen once the project is complete.

    1. FYI, the Toscannini & Sons was never a Toscannini-owned enterprise. The proprietor asked permission to use the name "Toscannini & Sons" because of the Toscannini products on offer there, though oddly, there are no sons involved (or in existence, as I recall). Perhaps this confusion over the name prompted the change. Though I agree, the baked goods there -- in its past two incarnations -- have been medicore at best, and inedible at worst. How does one make a corn muffin that tastes nothing of corn and instead like corrugated cardboard? I don't know. But I do know that was the first time I've ever returned a baked good after one bite and demanded a refund.

      5 Replies
      1. re: litchick

        I thought Toscannini bought out Panini. Also, now that I think of it there is almost always a Toscannini van in the drive way of Biscuit/Toscannini Somerville.

        1. re: ponyboy

          I think confusion reigns supreme with Toscannini's...wheren't they involved in the Someday Cafe fiasco also?

          Ditto the products at Biscuit.

          1. re: Sal Monella

            Yes, they owned the Someday Cafe also.

        2. re: litchick

          OMG--thanks for the bad-muffin bonding. I was being polite when I said mediocre. I don't order anything there except coffee and ice cream. My boyfriend told them the scones were terrible, and they replied by saying that "lots of people really like them." How can they continue to sell (and bake) that stuff year after year? Boggles the mind.

          1. re: bella_sarda

            The Harvard square location (RIP), in another twist, seemed to sell a mixture of the (bad--I agree) Toscanini and Sons goods, and baked goods sourced from elsewhere, including Haley House. I actually used to really like their dense but rich wholewheat choc chip cookie. At one point I believe they also had croissants and pastries from the Danish pastry house. I wonder why they chose to do that?

            I wish they would come back, anyway.

        3. The state of MA has siezed Toscanini's Central Square location for failure to pay taxed. According to an earlier CHOW posting, this also happened in 2002, so maybe they'll recover. If not, this is a sad, sad day in Cambridge history.

          4 Replies
          1. re: MiddletownUSA

            More bad news: The Globe has a lengthy article on this, saying that they're going to auction off the assets and equipment. I am soooo bummed about this.
            No more khulfi?

            1. re: winedude

              How could this happen? The place is usually crowded, sells stuff at a fairly high price, their ice cream is in lots of restaurants, I'm really surprised.

              1. re: Joanie

                I remember when this happened to a place on Needham St in Newton called Callahan's, near where Farm Grill is now. Allegedly, they charged meal tax and pocketed it for years. As I recall, it was a cash-only place in those days. I wondered how they could serve such huge, cheap drinks, and then understood when the place got padlocked.

                It's always amazing to me when any business thinks it can screw with juggernauts endowed with extra-legal powers like our state and federal tax authorities.

            2. Story about this shuttering of the Central Square mothership by the DOR in today's Boston Herald:

              1 Reply
              1. re: katzzz

                This article is slightly more optimistic about the chances of Tosc's re-opening. I hope they're right!

              2. i get a little chuckle thinking only in New England would the closing of an ice cream store in the middle of winter gather this much attention.

                3 Replies
                1. re: ScubaSteve

                  I hear that Rancatore's, with at least two locations (Lexington center and Belmont on Trapelo Rd) is owned by Toscanini frere. They have khulfi for sure (one of my favorites!), and the flavors are similarly varied.

                  1. re: poho

                    I went to Rancatore's once and was not that impressed with the one dish of coffee frozen yogurt I ate. Joe Rancatore is Gus' brother.

                  2. re: ScubaSteve

                    It's not just their ice cream I will miss-- their weekend brunch was fab too!