Mona Lisa Restaurant Closes After 17 Years


Allison Hunter Korn

CRLS mourns the loss of Mona Lisa Restaurant.

Isabella Minicucci, Contributing Writer

On Monday, November 28, CRLS students returned from Thanksgiving break to the somber surprise of the closure of Mona Lisa Pizza. A paper pasted to the front door of the pizza place was the first revelation of the news. The flier read, “From Mona Lisa family and team, we want to thank you all for your support all these years. Unfortunately we cannot operate business any longer because our lease is over. We wish the best for you all and thank you.” And with that, a longtime CRLS favorite was gone.

Founded in 2005, Mona Lisa is the most recent addition to CRLS’s lunch options. Since their opening, CRLS students have lined up through the store every lunch period to get various delicacies; namely, their famous buffalo chicken pizza. The store also provided seating, which would usually fill up in the first minutes of lunch. Last winter, the restaurant was one of the only storefronts to offer indoor seating to students, given that the school cafeterias capacity was limited at the time. The store has grown to be a staple for CRLS students, with the familiar environment and employees rarely letting students down.

The sudden loss of so much local business has warranted some fear for the fate of other CRLS lunch favorites.

For the past 17 years, students have had the same platter of eateries to choose from every lunch period. The first threat of change to this constant was in November, when the news of local cafe Darwin’s planned closure were first announced. Amidst the news, the future of CRLS’s lunch habits came into question. The need for answers grew after Mona Lisa Pizza quietly departed from its Cambridge Street location.

This is not the first time the possibility of closing has come up for Mona Lisa. After the business struggled during the pandemic in 2020, CRLS alumni Anthony Gallucio started the GoFundMe fundraiser “Keep Mona Lisa’s Open,” which raised $7,311 for the business, many of the donations coming from CRLS students and alumni. While the reopening of school the following March saved the business temporarily, they were forced to close their doors nearly two years after the original announcement.

The sudden loss of so much local business has warranted some fear for the fate of other CRLS lunch favorites. As small businesses seem to be slowly fading away, it’s critical to keep on supporting the places that mean the most to the community. Food brings students together, and lunch is one of the only experiences shared by everyone at CRLS. Keeping Angelo’s Pizza, Harvard Market, and Broadway Market alive is the only way to maintain this unique connection for CRLS students and alumni alike.

This article also appears in our December 2022 print edition.