So, 2008 is turning out to be something of a bizarre year for Boston-area dining, no? First there was the debacle of Vlora’s New Year’s Eve party gone horribly awry, and now, we’re faced with the epic tale of Toscanini’s Ice Cream. Last Thursday, visitors to the Central Square ice cream mecca were greeted by an orange sign on the door revealing that Toscanini’s had been seized for nonpayment of taxes. Aghast cries went up on Chowhound and Bostonist. We were personally sad as, while we frequent J.P. Licks much more regularly, we’ve long suspected Toscanini’s as having the Hub’s best ice cream. We imagined that this was the end of the line for dear Tosci’s and we mourned accordingly.
Then things took an unexpected turn. Toscanini’s owners Gus and Mimi Rancatore set up Save Toscanini’s!, a site where ice cream fans can donate money towards a down payment that will allow the shop to reopen. The Rancatore’s fully admit that they were derelict in paying their taxes and accept responsibility for paying the bulk of what they owe, but claim that they can’t reopen (and thus, get the money to pay their taxes) without some outside assistance, to the tune of $25,000. Since launching on Friday, the site has raised over $13,000.
Predictably, the reaction to Save Toscanini’s! has been somewhat mixed, with plenty of folks excited to donate, and plenty more appalled that a profitable institution would ask for public donations for something that’s entirely their own responsibility. Our own feelings are divided: we believe that anyone can ask for anything, but that sure doesn’t mean they can actually get it. On the one hand, we’re horrified that Toscanini’s failed to pay their taxes (taxes help people!), but on the other hand, we really like their ice cream and what’s a small donation if it means we can always enjoy a scoop of burnt caramel when we find ourself in Central Square?
We’d love to hear your thoughts. Will you be donating to Save Toscanini’s! or are you grossed out by the whole thing? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
[Photo: Mikki Ansin]