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Feast: Burdick’s Cafe- Come For the Hot Chocolate, Then Leave

September 30, 2010

LA Burdick is known for their single source coffee, decadent hot cocoa, and chocolate mice. They have an extensive website on which you can buy these things, and they also have three cafe locations, one in Harvard Square. Over the years I’ve visited Burdick’s Cafe for some coffee and a place to read or study, as many people do.

Unfortunately, I’ve noticed a really annoying trend in their Cambridge location. More and more, the cafe is just becoming an extension of their website, and it seems clear they care more about adding retail space than encouraging an extension of the back porch type of atmosphere. Just today as I walked in, employees were putting up a large shelf where several tables used to live, and on the opposite wall there was already a big display case for chocolates and coffee, also in the place of valuable seating.

room for at least 6 two-tops.

Over the past few years I would approximate they’ve taken out at least half of their table space (and the place isn’t that big to begin with), and it appears they will just keep going until they are a specialty store instead of a cafe. Plus, they insist that MA law states that if you aren’t sitting you must get your food and drink in to-go cups, so they certainly aren’t encouraging you to linger in any way. I know the trend these days is to create cafes without tables, but Burdick’s doesn’t even have a bar for you to stay and chat for a minute while you enjoy your drink.

It’s too bad, but with so many good cafes in Boston, why would I go to one that makes it uncomfortable/impossible for me to stay? Especially since, if I want to buy any of their hot chocolate mixes, coffee, or chocolate, I can just do it online while I’m sitting at a table in 1369. It’s not that I don’t understand the business aspect, I get that someone who buys one coffee and sits at a table for 4 hours is not as lucrative as the three or four packages of chocolate you could sell out of the same space in that amount of time. But I still don’t like it.

Though, I have to admit, the hot chocolate tasted just as good on a bench outside on a nice fall day, and my partner agreed.

a demi and a small

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