Tag Archives: coffee shop

Crema Revived

15 Feb

Revival coffee shops, in Alewife and Davis, have that sweet hint of Crema Cafe origins

 

Liza Shirazi and Steve “Nookie” Postal have brought Revival coffee shops to Alewife and Davis Square. (Photo: Tom Meek)

Though Revival doesn’t have the same 02138 address of Crema Cafe, fans of the defunct Harvard Square coffee shop will enjoy spacious and attractive locations on CambridgePark Drive by the Alewife red line T station and a brand-spanking-new locale on Elm Street where the road funnels into Somerville’s Davis Square.

The folks behind Revival, Liza Shirazi and Steve “Nookie” Postal, met in 2012. Shirazi was a co-owner with Marley Brush, whose father Tom owns Flat Patties and Felipe’s Taqueria; in 2016, Postal was brought in to help run the popular eatery as Marley stepped away from the business. Then came the December 2017 sale of the historic Brattle Building where Crema was located, to North Carolina-based Asana Partners for a whopping $108 million. Shirazi and Postal, uncertain what the new lease rates would be, had already begun planning what would become the Revival Alewife location. Ultimately the rent hike forced Crema out; Asana is replacing it with New York-based coffee chain Bluestone Lane.

The Revival in Davis Square opened at the new year. (Photo: Tom Meek)

But the name “Revival” is coincidence, Shirazi said. “We didn’t know how Crema was going to go,” she said. “We came up with the name when thinking about space and community.”

The Alewife location is in the first level of an office building amid a spare and stark swath of generic corporate buildings. “It was about bringing culture and life back into a place,” Shirazi said. “Plus, coffee and food do provide energy.”

The Alewife Revival opened in June; its Elm Street sister opened just after the New Year. Neither is open as late as Crema – until 5 p.m. weekdays and 3 p.m. weekends in Alewife, and to 7 p.m. at Davis Square after a starter closing of 3 p.m. as the cafe settles in.

The interiors of the Revivals at Davis Square (top) and Alewife. (Photos: Tom Meek)

They share a menu, with breakfast served all day and a basic but creative lunch menu with a few nods to the old Harvard Square location – namely the Crema Grilled Chicken sandwich with avocado and cotija, a cheese and corn spread. There’s also an ample selection of salads, quiche, made-on-site pastries as well as a kimchi bowl and the pastrami-based “Fake News” sandwich.

The Alewife space, which Shirazi called “family friendly,” boasts a vast parking lot open to customers on weekends (during the week it’s used by tenants’ employees) and has direct access to the bike path extension from Alewife to Belmont. Shirazi commutes from Lexington, where she has a husband also in the food industry and a 2- and a 4-year-old. Postal is a longtime Porter Square resident who owns and runs the Commonwealth restaurant and market in Kendall Square.

The owners have been exploring food and beverage service options outside the traditional long-term leased storefront format: In addition to the Revivals, they run a food and coffee kiosk at One Post Office Square, in downtown Boston. At CambridgePark Drive there is another floor- level space that they plan to operate as a community beer hall called Mothership.