Tuesday, May 28, 2024

A Starbucks is readying to open at at JFK and Brattle streets in Harvard Square. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Harvard Square’s coffee shop refresh doesn’t stop at the return of Starbucks in The Abbot building at JFK and Brattle streets. The Dunkin’ Donuts on Church Street has gotten a makeover into one of the company’s “next gen” locations.

For most customers, that won’t mean a lot. But the company plans a “grand reopening” for Nov. 11 that offers prizes of free coffee for a year to the first 100 people who visit that day.

The Starbucks has no official opening date, but is expected to open its doors in mid-November, said Denise Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, on Friday. The coffee chain once had three locations in the square; the last, a two-story site with plenty of room for studying or meetups, closed Nov. 21. (The new one is just 1,575 square feet.)

Dunkin’ Donuts, a chain that launched in Quincy in 1950, has been in a roughly similar situation in Harvard Square, where it had three locations: 61 Church St., the one that is now “next gen”; a mezzanine-level shop in the red line T station to serve commuters; and the “Eliot Street Cafe” at 65 John F. Kennedy St., a sort of stealth Dunkin’ that opened in 1996 with a design meant to assuage opponents of the chain.

A “next gen” Dunkin’ Donuts on Church Street will have coffee and tea on tap. (Photo: Dunkin’ Donuts)

The location in the MBTA station closed as long as two months ago. “My friends from the mezzanine are on Church Street,” Jillson said. The Church Street location was also closed for around two weeks while it was upgraded.

The Dunkin’ “next gen” concept began in 2018, also in Quincy, according to the company. They use fixtures meant to be more environmentally conscious, such as LED lighting and low-flow faucets; change layouts and offer ordering by phone or kiosk to make purchases more efficient; and put popular drinks on tap. 

Those drinks – items such as original blend, cold brew, dark roast, decaf and nitro coffees, and sweet and iced teas – are made ahead and put in kegs for faster service, the company said.

The grand reopening Nov. 11 promises a free-coffee-for-a-year giveaway to the first 100 visitors at 9 a.m. and a free doughnut for veterans and active-duty military members, as it will be Veterans Day.