Labor Day Hours

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RESTAURANTS:

Clover Harvard Square – 7am-10pm. Welcome back, Harvard students: Buy breakfast Sunday or Monday. Show us your Harvard ID, and your coffee’s on us!
Clover Kendall Square – 7am-10pm
Clover Burlington – 7am-9pm
Clover Brookline Village – 7am-9pm

TRUCKS:

Clover MIT: 11am-2pm
Clover PRK: 11am-4pm
Clover DWY: closed
Clover LMA: closed
Clover Watertown: closed

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Clover HFI waiting for a storefront

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We’re waiting for a storefront for our new Central Square location, Clover HFI. I’ll admit I’m a little impatient. And this stuff takes forever. And there is no way to speed it up.

To update you on some of the other things we’ve been doing: we had to submit for a 2 variances with the State Architectural Access Board: one for the corner entrance (not wheelchair accessible), and one for the side entrance (slightly steeper ramp than code requires for wheelchair access). They approved the first. It’s an enormous block of granite at the corner. If they’d rejected our application we would have had to obscure the entrance with a lift.

They rejected the second. Not sure why. The ramp we were asking for was something like a 4″ rise over 10 feet. It’s an old building so we are working within what is there now. Code requires something like 4″ over 10 feet. I know variances are issued for this sort of thing. I don’t know the details that led to our rejection. (Please don’t use these exact numbers as reference. I get frustrated with this stuff and try to leave it to our architects and engineers now so I don’t know the real numbers.) Now we need to build a ramp that comes into the space. We’ll need a longer ramp and you need something like a 5′ turnaround at the end of the ramp, so it’s a pretty enormous impact on the space which is small (less than 1500 square feet). But when we’re done this ramp will be fully compliant with current regulations.

Since we started building restaurants (which wasn’t very long ago) there have been a number of changes in code that have impacted construction cost and the amount of space you have to give up to non-productive uses. Among these changes are larger and more expensive HVAC systems (2-3x), more bathrooms, more wheelchair accessible entrances, larger grease traps, rejection of small efficient point of use hot water heaters (requiring large holding tanks instead), addition of air curtains on doors (which I think is great by the way). I’ve been looking at stuff in DC and it’s crazy. Every restaurant I walk into I find myself seeing all of the details that would prevent that restaurant from being built in Boston.

I didn’t know anything about this stuff when I started. I now know more than I’d like. It’s been really surprising to me how quickly it changes. I would never have guessed we’d see this much change in such a short period of time. Construction costs have gone up 20-30% due to these regulatory changes alone.

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Tomato Sandwich only here for another week

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Manlio runs our Dewey Square truck. He’s a sailor, an MIT trained scientist, and usually he’s a pretty quiet guy. But every year around this time, Manlio cannot stop talking about tomatoes. He talks about them to his staff. He talks about them to customers. He talks about them to anyone who will listen, even if it’s 5am and he’s loading his truck over at the HUB, or if it’s midnight and he’s unloading after movie night and spies the crates of tomatoes waiting in the kitchen.

This year’s tomatoes are some of the best we’ve ever had. They’re from Next Barn Over Farm in Hadley. And because we’re getting perfect tomatoes, we’re able to run a sandwich we haven’t been able to do in years past: the Heirloom Tomato Sandwich.

If you want to make the sandwich at home, here’s our training video. Start by buying the best heirloom tomato you can find. Let it ripen for a day on your counter. Don’t refrigerate it!!! Core your tomato, then slice it into a huge, fat slice. Cover the slice with salt and pepper on both sides. Spread a thick layer of mayo on your bread, add slice of cheddar (we use Grafton 1-year aged), your tomato slice, and a little bit of lettuce. It’s really all about the tomato.

We will have this sandwich at Clover for one more week while we can still get MA tomatoes…

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Clover is not the first to use white window paint

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We started painting on our windows a couple of years ago. I think it was a really amazing discovery we made. Our restaurants are so open and visible from the street that the marks we put on the windows become a beautiful overlay to the action inside. Response to messages we put on window have been great.

I’ve had employees and customers come to me telling me that a few months after we started doing this they started to see it other places (e.g., Apple Store on Boylston St.). But I just found this evidence that proves we weren’t the first!

Isn’t that a cool storefront? Maybe busier than we’d go for, but I love the way they could use the space outside of the store to display products (and break that street/ store interface). And obviously a distant relative of mine worked there, see the penchant for HUGE prices?

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Own a Clover bench

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Don’t worry, we’re not getting out of the sandwich business. This is a one off thing. I haven’t used our website to sell anything before, and don’t plan to make a habit of it. But I thought some customer may want a piece of Clover in their yard and stopped here before hitting Craigslist.

We have some beautiful picnic benches that used to sit outside of Clover HSQ. Now that we’ve moved onto folding chairs and tables these guys are freed up. We have 4 total but I want to keep 1 for myself, so we have 3 for sale. $250 each. Send a note to info@cloverfastfood.com if you want one.

These were made by a kid and his dad out near Worcester. Chris found them when he ran Harvard Square. They’re made with douglas fir which makes them heavy but durable without being pressure treated. They are used and worn and have a nice patina.

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Blueberry buttermilk donuts

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Enzo wanted to celebrate the Barismo folks being in the house on Friday. He made our buttermilk donuts and made a blueberry glaze with the blueberries we’re getting from Hadley right now.

Chris and Pete of Barismo Roasters were by to talk about the Barismo coffee we’re serving right now from the Kochere region of Ethiopia.

If you joined at the coffee tasting, you got a pair of these donuts with your coffee. We’re going to be doing another coffee and donuts event with Barismo at Harvard Square on Friday morning. There are a few tickets still left, sign up here.

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Coffee and donuts this month with Barismo roasters

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We’re going to be hosting Barismo at CloverHSQ and CloverKND for a series of coffee tastings to celebrate an amazing new batch of Kochere from Ethiopia.  I heard Tracy and Enzo are making donuts for everyone who comes.

KND, Friday 8/22, 9:30am

HSQ, Friday, 8/29, 8am

That picture is of Clover staff touring Barismo’s new roasters. Barismo recently moved from a tiny facility in Arlington to a new space within Aeronaut Brewing in Somerville. It used to be an envelope factory back in the mid part of this century, and it’s huge. On one side of the room there were tons of bags of coffee, representing countless hours of sourcing, tasting at origin, dealing with customs agents. On one side was a beautiful refurbished coffee roaster. Pete was really excited about the fact that the gas line at this new facility is much stronger than at their old facility, and he can actually taste the difference in the final coffees.

Join us, tickets are going fast!

 

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Jalapeno soda

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I’ll admit more than a little skepticism about this one. Sometimes ideas come to our Food Development meetings that seem… well… ideas we’re not sure are going to work. But we taste everything. And sometimes I’m spectacularly wrong. The first time I remember this happening was with cinnamon lemonade. An employee wanted to make cinnamon lemonade. I thought that sounded awful, but said let’s just make sure we don’t make too much. It turned out to be a stroke of genius, or luck, or both. And we stumbled into this amazing territory of spice lemonades (star anise is one of my favorites).

Craig, of Clover KND, had this idea for Jalapeño soda. Those little peppers are starting to hit harvest. And if you’ve had a good fresh jalapeño you may have noticed that alongside the heat there’s a beautiful fruitiness.

This soda is a little hot, but not too much. And it has an awesome fruit quality. It’s really amazing. Showing at Clover Kendall and elsewhere soon. Thank Craig! and bring your crazy ideas by on Tuesdays, 3pm, at the HUB. Open to all.

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Join us for Food Dev

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Our Food Development meetings happen every Tuesday at 3pm at the HUB. They’re open to the public. You can sit in and listen and taste. Or you can bring a sample of something you think we should try. Next meeting is going to focus on ideas for summer salads that use all the produce we’re getting from farms right now (think tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, scallions, melons). We’re also going to taste the second iteration of a sandwich that Sharron, one of our kitchen employees, developed based on Indochinese food he grew up eating in India. And as always there’ll be new coffee and beer to try.

Email Lucia (info@cloverfastfood.com) if you want to join.

 

 

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