I won’t sell you my best-selling sandwich

By ayr August 23, 2019

I think we’ve totally failed in explaining why our menu is always changing. What makes me think this? Daily requests for the Brussels Sprout Sandwich. And the looks on faces when we say we don’t have it. Like we’re pulling one over on them.

I love this sandwich. I made it as a resistance to all the terrible things I heard people saying about Brussels Sprouts as I was growing up. It’s the most popular sandwich we sell. It outsells the Chickpea Fritter. It outsells the Impossible Meatball. It outsells the Japanese Sweet Potato. When it’s on our menu the entire sales of Clover swell.

People have told me I’m an idiot for keeping this sandwich away. Lucia even staged a coup a few years ago and temporarily made it a year-round sandwich at the MIT truck only. But the truth is the Brussels Sandwich will not taste as good if I sold it today in August. Why? Brussels aren’t ready until the nights get cold, around October in New England. If I sell that sandwich now I’d have to source Brussels Sprouts from South America. They’d be flown, trucked in, they’d sit on pallets for days before being used. They just wouldn’t taste as good.

This is the thing we’ve had trouble communicating. It’s not some goofy limited run item (LTO in industry jargon). Our menu changes because we think veggies taste best at their peak. Real seasonality is better than any fancy ingredient or technique. It’s better than any fancy marketing campaign or diet trend.

But it’s more urgent than that in my mind. I don’t want to live in a seasonless world. I can think of few pleasures greater than biting into a local peach at its peak. Having waited all year, and knowing I can’t have it a few weeks from now is part of what I love about that peach. So enjoy the peaches that are about to hit the menu. The Heirloom Tomato Sandwich we can only sell for a few weeks a year. Eat as much melon as you can. I know it’s sort of a subtle message. Maybe that’s why I’ve had trouble communicating it.

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