April 13, 2015

Illegal pinball

Share:

IMG_4414

The other day I posted about all of the things going on for Clover. A really long post.

Towards the end of that post was a mention of a pinball. Not less than 3 hours after I put that post on the website I got an email from Cambridge Licensing letting me know that due to an ordinance in Cambridge we might not be allowed to have pinball.

So crazy right? Crazy there’s an issue. And crazy they are reading this website to find that. We’re chasing around city agencies right now to get to the bottom of this. So far we’ve been told by zoning that it’s not their job, told by the head of City Inspectional Services that there’s no issue, told by licensing that they need us to get an entertainment license. So we’ve applied for an entertainment license.

I’d love to sit down with a City official and go through how absolutely crazy it’s been to try to work in this City. I’m reaching a boiling point. Feels like anything you want to do there’s an absurd obstacle put in your place.

We had a Cambridge Fire Sargent come into the HUB the other day harassing Chris about a bill that a plumber we work with hadn’t paid them, $500 or so. Chris asked if it was our bill and they said no, but they know we work with that plumber. They threatened to shut down the HUB and prevent HFI from opening if we get the plumber to pay up. No joke. No joke. In 2015. In an educated city.

We can’t apply for a beer license for HFI because the previous tenant has what Massachusetts calls a pocket license. That’s a license that’s not active (because he has no business anymore) but is “attached” to our address. Cambridge will not allow us to apply for a license until that pocket license is moved or revoked. The Cambridge ordinances say very clearly that pocket licenses should not be renewed, yet the License Commission renewed his license at the end of the year. He didn’t file for an extension of his license, but the Cambridge License Commission extended it anyway. And here we are, 1 year after we signed a LOI on the space, still unable to apply for a permit. It’s really incredible.

It’s taken a year, literally a year, to get our pita oven approved for use in Cambridge. If I’d opened it in New Hampshire I could have had bread baking last May. And I’m spending more money on consultants, engineers, etc. than the oven cost to be built in Israel and shipped across the ocean.

These are some larger stories, but there are dozens of smaller stories. And they’re hardly unique to Clover. It’s just an amazing pain to try to do business. These things seem broken. They just don’t seem to work they way they should. I would be shocked if there is somebody who lives in Cambridge who thinks it would be a bad thing for Clover to have a pinball machine in our restaurant. And I think most business people in the City feel there is nothing they can do. I feel that same way.

(Oh, and we will have pinball, legal or not. And yeah, that’s a cherry Twilight Zone machine there. I’ve been doing a lot of pinball research : )

Recent Posts

January 26, 2023
The Pizza Friday Box gave us an idea: calzones! Ayr has been making these at his house and texting us photos. They’re big and saucy and so good. Basically a stuffed pizza/turnover situation with origins in 17th century Naples.
January 18, 2023
As you might know, we love feedback. Survey Day is a tradition that harkens back to the first days of the food truck, over 10 years ago. If you got a card in line today at Clover, or if you ordered on the app today, click here to take the survey. Huge thanks for helping us improve.
January 13, 2023
Thanks all who joined for the first public food dev meeting after Covid. Phil did a great job pulling it all together. If you’re a customer, farmer, vendor (or Clover staff member) reading this, you are invited to Food Dev! These happen Thursday afternoons at the HUB and they’re where all new food ideas are born. Just make sure to sign up – spots are limited.
January 5, 2023
House-made carrot lox, hearty vegetable stews with bread and pickles, Tunisian breakfast bowls, a pizza party kit, and a dream of snow, all in one box. Our Snowed In Box is back. This was Greg’s idea back in 2020. He thought it would be cool to make a box that was equally whether eaten after snowboarding or cozied up on the couch watching a movie.
December 21, 2022
We’ve been getting a lot of requests for the ability to gift a friend Clover Meal Boxes. After a lot of late night tech sessions, we have a way to do this! Yay! I’ve been looking and seeing a few of you have started to discover this feature and are starting to gift away. So cool to see.
December 16, 2022
If you’re a weekly meal box subscriber, you may have noticed way fewer plastic containers in your deliveries recently.When we started the program, we were in the pandemic, new to this whole home delivery thing, and a big concern was making sure that nothing spilled inside the boxes. So we relied on post-consumer recycled containers (aka plastic deli containers) for a lot of the items.
December 13, 2022
We’ve been getting back into the merch game. First up: squash shirts. I thought it would be fun to celebrate the diversity of the squash world. Although butternut is probably the squash you see most in the grocery store, there are actually over 100 types of squash, all with their own patterns, colors, and textures.
December 6, 2022
The Bridgewater is back!! This is probably the most requested sandwich on our menu. Michelle who runs our social media says she reliably gets one message per week asking when it will return. In 2015, Paul and Bryan came up with this sandwich as an homage to the jalapeño poppers at The Charlie Horse, a now-closed tavern in their hometown of Bridgewater, MA.
December 6, 2022
I love the holidays. I love the lights, I love the traditions, I love ornaments and pine needles all over the floor.  I love the movies (“Muppet Christmas Carol”) and the books (“A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”) I love the good songs, I love the schlocky songs (if you’ve never heard “Suzy Snowflake” or “Dominic the Donkey”, stop reading right now and click through.)
December 1, 2022
It was inevitable. Our meal box program had to find its way into restaurants at some point. A bunch of you have been asking if we can sell “on demand” meal boxes in our restaurants – for those times when you have last-minute dinner guests or forgot to subscribe by the deadline. So we’ve been easing into the process of combining one part of Clover with another.
November 28, 2022
Brussels Sprouts are extra sweet this time of year, and King Brussels, in his infinite wisdom, has cooked up a Brussels Week in our meal boxes. Every single subscription box will contain a recipe inspired by brussels! This is the first time we’ve explored a seasonal theme across our entire lineup and we’re excited to dive in.
November 19, 2022
This was Jane’s last week at Clover. We’re wishing her the best in her next steps (but also not so secretly hoping she comes back!)