On my commute home from Waltham to Allston I have noticed a new small business that shows the potential of Harvard property like its CITGO station and other buildings where some creativity could bring us something a lot better than what Western Ave has now.
Silk Road BBQ is a portable roadside grill that cooks and sells their food on most afternoons, operating out of the parking lot at 395 Trapelo Rd in Belmont, the former home of Gullotti's Auto Repair. They get rave reviews on Yelp and run a clever website. As the photos show, the location couldn't be much less inviting - there isn't a ton of foot traffic and the site isn't beautiful. But it is good enough for these guys to have run a business there for the past several months, serving good food to appreciative customers.
If something like this can work in a Belmont parking lot, it can work on Western Ave if Harvard is willing to try.