June 16, 2016



I’ve been sorely lacking on introducing some of our leaders. I decided that really honest interviews might be the best way to introduce folks and share the ups and downs of life as a Clover manager. Erika is our new manager of the Longwood Medical truck. I sat down with her at Bisq and we talked holes in skulls, Lithuanian rye bread, and the feeling you get when someone you hired becomes a Team Leader. 

What was your first introduction to the food industry?

I grew up in Syracuse but my family had a house on the Cape. My cousin and I would scoop ice cream every summer at Buffy’s, which was run by this 60-year-old hippie named Flash.

What brought you to Boston?

I went to St. Lawrence University and studied anthropology. When I graduated, I had an offer to enter a PhD program in and intended to take a year off before doing that, so I was living on a couch in the North End with my sister, her husband, and their 1-year-old baby.

I remember you got to go to some cool country with your program?

I focused on osteology and paleopathology, which is diagnosing the history of a skeleton. I spent a summer in Lithuania looking at skeletons, determining male/female, how old, how tall, how did they die? They had this massive medieval collection of skulls. Some of them had axe wounds. Some of them had syphilis. The way you can tell if a skull had syphilis is that it puts holes in your skulls!

What was life like in Lithuania?

It was really beautiful there, but it’s only a few decades away from being a part of the USSR. If someone asks you if you’re doing well, you’re supposed to say you’re just doing OK, because the older generation remembers the Soviet era, and if you act too happy they’ll say, “What are you so happy about?” It’s also full of hedgehogs. The main pest in Lithuania is the hedgehog, so they have these tiny 10-inch fences all over the countryside. They eat a lot of fried rye bread slathered with cheese and garlic right out of the fryer.

What do you remember from your interview at Clover?

I saw the job on Craigslist in 2013. I think I was told one date over the phone and one date over email, so I showed up on the wrong date, and there was another interviewee there too. Enzo said to us as we climbed on board, “You’re fighting for one spot” which I thought was really hilarious! I remember Manlio (who now runs CloverDWY) was there at the time, and he asked me, “What size gloves do you need?” and I didn’t know, and he looked at my hands and immediately said, “Medium!” Me and the other kid were both working East and it was crazy fast. I remember Enzo teaching me about the pickle surprise (the two pickles at the bottom of the pita.) The other kid couldn’t figure out how to cut bread, so he got moved over to do something else and I got the job. I remember going home for Thanksgiving and telling my family I wasn’t going to pursue the PhD.

What was your darkest day at Clover?

I was working the overnight at HFI. Another assistant manager (who’s no longer with us) was supposed to come in halfway through my shift and take over. She kept texting me, “I’m going to be a little bit late, I’ll keep you posted”…then a little later, “My car won’t start, be there soon!” then a little later, “I’m almost there!” Dave came in to see what was going on and I said, “Dave, she’s not coming in.” And she didn’t. That was her resignation from Clover. So I worked a 15 hour day that day, and then I worked the next day. Dave was really angry that happened.

What are the best moments for you at Clover?

Definitely anytime someone you had a hand in hiring or training becomes a Team Leader. It’s really great. I remember Enzo telling me when I was first starting out as a manager, “If you want to be a badass, hire a badass.”

If you could clone anyone at Clover who would it be?

That’s a really good question. I would probably clone Stefan. From Day 1 he’s been really honest and a really hard worker, and he’s only 19. He has said “It’s going to be OK, boss!” to me more than once.

What can we find you doing when you’re not at Clover?

My roommates and I love boardgames too much. My roommate buys a new one every week and I’m like, “We haven’t even opened some of these!” There’s one we’re playing right now called Ticket to Ride.

If Clover was a boardgame what would it be?

Ha! Chutes and Ladders!


Recent Posts

November 29, 2023
I’m writing to share some news: we’ve decided to permanently close CloverROW, our outpost in the Assembly Row neighborhood of Somerville. The closure of this restaurant is part of the whole company’s focus on reaching financial sustainability and positioning us for future growth. These decisions are really hard, but they’re necessary steps for us to simplify Clover. And, happily, all the amazing staff at CloverROW, including the manager Joe, will be able to move into other Clover restaurants. The math is straightforward…
November 28, 2023
These sweet potato latkes date back to early days on the Clover food truck. They’re so yummy and the sweet potatoes lend them such a fun golden color. They’re probably the most popular item in our Hanukkah Meal Box, which you can get delivered on December 7th. Inside the box you’ll find: 
November 21, 2023
Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. We will be closed Thursday 11/23 at all locations. For our kitchen team, it will be a good chance to rest after prepping a ton of Brussels casseroles for our Thanksgiving Box : ) As for the days surrounding Thanksgiving, we’ll be open normal hours, except for CloverFIN (Financial District) and CloverHSC (Harvard Science Center) which will be closed tomorrow and Friday. CloverHSQ (Harvard Square) will be closing early (at 8pm) tomorrow. 
November 16, 2023
I’m not a big believer in multitasking (which, in my experience, is doing a bunch of things simultaneously and badly.) But there’s a lot going on at Clover right now, so I had to break my No Multitasking Rule on Wednesday. I asked Michele and Greg on our Finance team if they’d mind if I took myself off video during a meeting to review Accounts Payable. “I have to draw a cartoon Delicata Squash,” I explained, reasonably.
November 16, 2023
Some of you have been asking for a sides-only box – and it’s true, sides are the best part, aren’t they? We’re making a limited number of boxes with mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and King Brussels’ Casserole. Each Sides Box serves 6-8 people and can be delivered to your door for 11/21 or 11/22. 
November 9, 2023
The moment you’ve waited for is here. Western Mass Brussels sprouts are back in the restaurants, which means the King himself has landed! What’s on this glorious sandwich and why is it the King of all seasonal sandwiches? A dijon-mayo spread, smoked Grafton cheddar, fried Brussels tossed with za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice blend), pickled red cabbage, and toasted hazelnuts.
November 6, 2023
On Friday we had a company meeting with all our leadership to talk about a decision we’ve made about the future of Clover. We are all focused on putting Clover on solid financial footing so we can continue to make the food you love for many years to come. COVID changed everything for restaurants like us. The way we eat, drink, work, and get together has shifted substantially and, while Clover has seen a steady recovery in sales…
October 29, 2023
Julia here. Today, October 29, is Clover’s birthday! 15 years of perfect pita, crispy chickpea fritters, countless sandwiches that cycle with the seasons, and of course the occasional birthday cupcake. How lucky are we? Although I’ve been working at Clover for a year and a half, this was my first week as CEO. I’m excited and honored to be stepping into this role. I’ve been a Clover enthusiast for a long time – since my first taste of a Blue Oyster Mushroom sandwich as a grad student in 2013. As COO and now as CEO…
October 26, 2023
If you stop by tomorrow (Friday 10/27) around 11am, you might be treated to a bit of Clover history in the form of a carrot cupcake with buttercream frosting. One per paying customer, while they last! And they may not last long : )
October 26, 2023
A bunch of you have been asking, and yes, we are doing a Thanksgiving Box menu again this year, with all the favorites from years past – Hubbard Squash glazed with maple-Sriracha butter, mashed potatoes, gravy, Ayr’s dad’s walnut-mushroom patè, stuffing – there’s even a limited run of Petsi pies. Free delivery to your door if you’re within 30 miles of us. Click here to reserve yours.
October 22, 2023
I’ve recently asked somebody who believes in Clover as much as I do to step into the CEO role. Julia Wrin Piper has been Clover’s COO for the past 18 months and will take over running the company day-to-day. I’ll be shifting my efforts to provide support for Julia and the team, work on growth opportunities, and pursue partnerships that will amplify Clover’s mission. I’ll remain a member of the Board of Directors and active as an advisor and mentor. Clover is facing a potent mix of opportunity and challenge right now and I know Julia is exactly the right person to lead the team through these twists and turns.
October 18, 2023
On 10/29 Clover will turn 15 years old. It’s been 15 years since we first pulled up a tiny white food truck to the MIT campus in hopes of testing a menu that could make a dent in global warming. Since then we’ve supported so many local farmers; had tons of adventures on board trucks and restaurants; and met tons of wonderful customers. And most of all we’ve made food. Lots and lots of food. In honor of our 15th birthday, we sent out a survey asking you about your favorite LONG-LOST MENU ITEMS. We’ve picked the top results and we’re going to bring them back for one day only – in the form of a Birthday Meal Box!