You've seen pictures of those grand, old world markets with rows of spring lamb strung outside, handwritten sandwich boards, vaulted interiors, and long glass display counters selling everything from cheese to chestnuts? Central Square had one of those. Manhattan Market provisions company on Mass. Ave. between Pearl and Magazine Streets, proudly served the community from 1888 to about 1950, and was one of the last of its kind in the area. Savenor's, while diminutive in comparison, has surpassed its longetivity and continues to serve the community in similar fashion since 1938.

Supermarkets, frozen food sections, and mass-produced goods soon arrived, as urban development pushed local farms out of reach. The international Harvard and Radcliffe community demanded multicultural imports such as beer and cooking spices and got them at places like Cronin's and Cardullo's, while multiethnic culinary life diversified in East Cambridge along Cambridge Street from Portuguese to Brazilian, Haitian to Jewish. Prohibition caused taverns like Joey Mac's, Charlie's Tap, and Joe's Place to focus on food instead of shutting down. The Window Shop, one of the more emblematic and unique establishments of the era, operated as a combination coffee, luncheon, and consignment shop created foremost to assist European refugees around WWII.

Formerly rural, Cambridge was still progressing as a residential community peppered with industry and a growing student population. This is a dense era where New England fare meets multiculturalism (immigration) meets thrift (Great Depression & world wars) meets demand (Baby Boom) and prepares to meet postwar global capitalism.


Come inside to tour Culinary Cambridge 1900-1950