An Australia-based chain of Mexican restaurants shut down its only Boston-area location, but another remains open in Rhode Island. Zambrero (71 Mt. Auburn St., Harvard Square, Cambridge) reportedly closed on Friday, August 9, leaving a Warwick, Rhode Island, restaurant as the only remaining New England location.
Founded in 2005, Zambrero is the largest burrito chain in Australia, and creator Sam Prince aims to use the company as a vehicle for international hunger relief. Zambrero’s Cambridge location replicated the Australian Plate 4 Plate program, which donated one meal per meal purchased through a partnership with international hunger relief non-profit organization Rise Against Hunger.
When Zambrero opened in Cambridge in March 2018, it took over a former Boloco space, carrying on the fast-casual counter-service model and serving burritos, bowls, tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and seven salsas. The restaurant offered some options for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diners.
Though its time in Cambridge was relatively short-lived, Zambrero’s closure marks another shift in the landscape of Harvard Square, partly fueled by construction projects, partly a shift in building ownership, and partly the natural cycle of business.
Sweet Bakery shut down due to construction at 1 JFK St., while nearby establishments like Crema Cafe, Tealuxe, and Night Market have also shuttered since late last year.
The change is not devoid of progress for local businesses however: Black Sheep Bagel Cafe opened in 2018, and the newly renovated Smith Campus Center at Harvard filled up with Boston-area restaurants, including Saloniki, Whole Heart Provisions, Blackbird Doughnuts, Bon Me, and Pavement Coffeehouse.
• Zambrero Dips Out of Harvard Square in Summer Closure [Crimson]
• Zambrero in Cambridge’s Harvard Square Has Closed [BRT]
• Australia’s Humanitarian Burrito Shop Kicks Off US Arrival in Cambridge [EBOS]