Arlington Heights Brigham's becomes a frozen asset

State tax officials seized and closed one of the few remaining Brigham's restaurants today, claiming that it owed over $92,000 in meals taxes dating back to 2009.

Another Brigham's on Trapelo Road in Belmont, owned by the same people, closed in January. That location is now the home of Moozy's Ice Cream.

The Arlington Heights Brigham's could reopen if its owners make a significant down payment on their taxes within the next few weeks.



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I used to work in the same building. If this is closing, Brighams is *gone*. That's where they made the ice cream to sell in all the stores.

Nope, different building

You're thinking of the old Brigham's factory on Mill Street, and the store next to it. Those closed three years ago and have been demolished. A residential development is under construction there now. Hood now makes all Brigham's brand ice cream that is sold in supermarkets and convenience stores.

Brighams recent history

Brigham's used to have shops all over the place. Sad to see it's come to this, because the ice cream was great. But there's been a lot of management turmoil for the past five or ten years. The Globe had this to say this about Brighams in 2009:

The owner of the failing ice cream shop chain, Luke T. Cooper, is “terrible,’’ said Hogan, who waited tables at the Arlington location for 37 years. “It’s very obvious he doesn’t care about people or give a damn about them.’’

The abrupt closure, caused by a landlord’s eviction of the restaurant for failure to pay rent, meant she was unable to say goodbye to regular customers she considered family. They included an elderly blind woman who relied on Hogan to read her mail aloud most days.

The restaurant chain - once a household name in New England - is expected to file for bankruptcy today, and the 13 locations operated by Cooper’s company, Deal Metrics LLC, are closing, Cooper said this week. About a dozen independently owned stores that feature Brigham’s ice cream remain unaffected by the bankruptcy.

That will leave only a hint of a chain that once had more than 100 restaurants across Massachusetts.

Hogan and many other former Brigham’s employees say Cooper, a 33-year-old equity investor based in Baltimore, betrayed the Brigham legacy. They say that in less than 18 months he appears to have dismantled the last vestiges of the 95-year-old institution.

The article said Cooper bought Brigham's from another PE firm based in Newton, and Hood bought the brand rights.

It would still be better than the alternative.

Brigham's may be a relic, but they don't have to treat that shop like it's frozen in time. The place needs a massive cleaning and redecoration. Considering how bad the Brigham's TV ads are (dug up from a vault storing TV movies recorded on VHS in 1980), it's almost like they're specifically going for the nostalgia, but it doesn't have quite the same endearing factor as, say, a visit to FunSpot.

We ate there once shortly after moving here, and were thoroughly unimpressed.