Au Bon Pain in South Station closes, reportedly the last Boston location of the cafe chain

Food News

The cafe chain started in Boston in 1978, but in the last several years, Au Bon Pain’s many locations in the region have shuttered.

There are reportedly no more Au Bon Pain locations open in the Boston area, after news circulated that the South Station (pictured here) and International Place locations shuttered. Erin Clark / The Boston Globe, File

The South Station location of Au Bon Pain has closed, seemingly marking the end of the once-popular Boston-born cafe chain’s run in the metro area, according to reports.

The news was first shared by a member of the Facebook group Friends of Boston’s Hidden Restaurants, run by food writer Marc Hurwitz. He also wrote about the closure on his blog, Boston Restaurant Talk.

Though Au Bon Pain had not publicly announced the closure, the store is permanently closed, according to Google. The location is also no longer listed on Au Bon Pain’s website. 

Au Bon Pain at South Station in Boston Has Closed; Only One Location Now Remains in Massachusetts
byu/GarrettQuinn inboston

There were also no other Boston locations listed on Au Bon Pain’s website, and Hurwitz reported that the South Station eatery was the last of a chain that once had a strong foothold in its home city.

The company started in Boston in 1978 and once had more than 300 locations, including many in Boston and Cambridge. The chain’s stores were often found inside office buildings, hospitals, and airports. 

Au Bon Pain was also twice connected to Panera Bread in its history — first in 1993 when the company purchased St. Louis Bread Company and expanded the Missouri-based bakery under its eventual household name, Panera. The company then sold off its Au Bon Pain stores in 1999 to expand Panera, then reacquired Au Bon Pain in 2017.

It was around that time that multiple Boston-area Au Bon Pain were shuttered. A year before in 2016, the flagship Harvard Square location — also the setting of a “Good Will Hunting” scene — closed its doors for good, and by 2019, all Cambridge locations were closed, Eater Boston reported. 

It isn’t immediately clear when Boston’s last stores closed, but according to the Au Bon Pain website, only one cafe remains in Massachusetts, a franchise location at Stonehill College.

Its current owners, Texas-based Ampex Brands, acquired Au Bon Pain in 2021. Ampex told The Boston Globe they had plans to grow the brand as the country came out of the worst of the pandemic and COVID-19 lockdowns. Boston.com tried to confirm the recent Boston closures with Au Bon Pain but couldn’t reach their team.