September 21, 2017

Introducing Impossible Burger

We’re taking a big step today at Clover. We’re going to serve a meatball sandwich that for many of you may be the best meatball sandwich you’ve ever had. Not a meatball that is “meatball-like” or “almost as good as a meatball.” We’re going to serve something that will be impossible for you to distinguish from meat, and like I said, for some of you will be the best meatball you’ve ever eaten.

And we’re not sure if it belongs on the Clover menu.

David Lee from Impossible Foods called me a few weeks ago asking if Clover would be willing to partner with them for the New England launch. We were honored but a bit unsure.

I’d met David (COO of Impossible) when he was in Boston a couple of years ago, he announced himself as a fan of what we’re doing and introduced me to Impossible. I’d been following Impossible in the news so I knew a bit about them and since then I’ve learned a lot more. About a year ago when I was in SF with Chris and Ethan we stopped by the Impossible headquarters, talked to David, and Pat (Founder of Impossible). These are good people who have dedicated their lives to the same things we’re working on. And we got to touch and smell and taste the product. We had little burgers cooked in a fry pan atop a portable butane burner. We’d never seen anything like this. It smelled like meat cooking. It browned. It looked like meat. It got us all talking.

 So how does this fit in? Our goal at Clover is to help meat lovers become vegetable lovers. We do that through working with farmers to get you the most delicious vegetables. That’s what we do. So how does this fit in?

To be honest, I’m not sure. I talked to Impossible about this. I’ve had some conversations with Jamie Bissonette about Impossible and idea of a collaboration. I wondered whether it would be fun to do a spin off or something that was burger only, maybe a 1 beef burger and 1 impossible burger on the menu. I wasn’t sure if Clover had the credibility for a burger or if it would be good for our brand.

When David Lee called I told him I thought if we were going to do something within Clover it would have to be a meatball, not a burger. And I wasn’t sure they’d be up for that. After checking with the team David got back to me with an enthusiastic YES. So we’re on.

Like most of what we’re doing at Clover we’re cutting a new path. There’s a lot of self doubt and uncertainty involved with trying things for the first time. But I think this could be amazing, for us, for you, for Impossible, for the planet. So we’re diving in.

You can help us. Talk. Tell us what you think, share your reactions. Does this belong on our menu? It’s your menu as much as it’s mine. What do you think of that question? Try it. Tell us what you think. Is this something you’re going to dream about? Are there friends that may not have come to Clover in the past but will try us now that we have the best meatball sandwich?

Meatball Sandwich (Impossible Burger) will be an item on the CloverHSC and CloverHSQ menus starting Friday (9/22/17). We’re working with Impossible to ramp up supply so that we can get it at all of the Clover restaurants in the future.

EDIT: Tonight’s talk with Impossible founder Pat Brown is sold out, but you can still try the meatballs tonight from 4:30-6pm at Harvard Science Center!

Recent Posts

May 24, 2023
I recently learned that garlic has 4 stages that it goes through on its journey to become the cured stuff you’re probably used to seeing. This year I learned about Green Garlic. It’s the mild, sweet, un-cured bulb, plus the fresh green shoots. We got our hands on a super limited crop from Red Fire out in Granby, and so we decided to see if we could incorporate it into every single different type of box we make next week…
May 23, 2023
We’ve intentionally steered clear of bowls for a long time. If you see Ayr tomorrow, ask him why : ) Tomorrow (5/24) we’re starting a 2-week test of bowls at CloverNTV, our restaurant in Newtonville. If it goes well, this could represent the beginning of one of the bigger changes our menu has EVER seen. We’re hoping we’ve cracked the code to bowls that are seasonal, carefully-composed, easy to carry, and craveable – all the things we love about bowls, and none of the things we don’t.
May 18, 2023
I used to eat Cheesy Grits almost every morning, and if you were eating with us around 2017, I bet you did too. We took our Plimoth-ground-grits off the menu for a little while, but now they’re back at all locations (except for the HUB for the time being). Stop in for breakfast during the next 2 weeks – we’re aiming for these to be hot and ready at 8am and we’ll be selling them til they’re out. The staff has been waking up extra early and adding a lot of extra whisking to their mornings, so we’d love to hear what you think. If you’ve never had our Cheesy Grits before, here are some things you should know….
May 16, 2023
What is Chris eating? When we toured the field at Siena, the crew was planting dahlia tubers. They get planted in warm soil, will grow all summer and will be ready for harvest in the fall. They reminded us of sunchokes, so we got to talking about whether the tubers are edible and it turns out they are! Are they delicious?
May 15, 2023
Do you want a beautiful box of produce for a fraction of what you’d pay in the grocery store? Do you want to invest in a farm’s success and be with them throughout the harvest season? Do you think you hate eggplants but you’ve just never had a good one? It might be time to look into a CSA (or farmshare).
May 5, 2023
I remember exactly the moment we started celebrating May the 4th (“May the Force” be with you). We were on a planning call about meal boxes and we were talking about how we were going to launch our Taco Tuesday program on Cinco de Mayo (May the 5th). Chris accidentally said “May the 4th” and Ayr said, “May the 4th! We should do a Star Wars Box!”
April 24, 2023
If you’ve been reading for a while you probably know we hate waste. Most of the time, minimizing waste is pretty unglamorous, but every once in a while our mission to reduce waste takes us to some very cool places. I look after Clover’s grocery marketplaces (including our Assembly Row grocery store). A few months ago I noticed that the marketplaces were going through a lot of our paper bags. They’re compostable, which is great. But I think the best bag is one you can use over and over again.
April 22, 2023
Few people know that Clover is environmental activism. This is by design.  And it works. We do these customer surveys and see that 9 out of 10 Clover customers are NOT vegetarian. Yet I’m constantly troubled by conflicting feelings about the approach we’ve taken.
April 10, 2023
Over the next 3 weeks, on a rolling schedule, most Clovers are going to be giving out a free hot or cold George Howell Montecarlos coffee to anyone who stops in between opening and 11 am. No strings— we just want to see you all and talk about coffee!! George Howell’s Montecarlos is a single-origin coffee we love for our pour-overs…
March 30, 2023
Each year, early spring is a busy time at the Clover kitchen because we have 2 of our tastiest boxes, usually back-to-back. For the Passover box, a lot of care goes into the kashering of the kitchen, with Rabbi Dolinger coming in to ensure the box is totally Kosher for Passover via Lighthouse Kosher.
March 15, 2023
That photo is corn fritters drizzled with maple syrup. We just started frying them up for a 2pm special – and they’re an element of our Maple Meal Box. If you head away from the city this time of year, you’ll see signs for sugar shacks, where maple sap gets boiled down into syrup and little restaurants pop up to serve pancakes, corn fritters, cider donuts, and dill pickles (to cut through the sweetness of the fresh syrup).
February 28, 2023
You’ve been asking! And finally we can announce: sunchokes are here, starting tomorrow, 3/1. Thanks to Pete’s Greens in VT for getting us local sunchokes. At breakfast we’ll be making The Sunchoke Truffle: fluffy house-baked pita, creamy truffled butter, caramelized onions, a 6.5 minute egg, and thin, crispy sunchoke slices. At lunch and dinner: The Sunchoke Mushroom: scallion-black-pepper mayo, fresh arugula, roasted crimini mushrooms, fried brined onions, and roasted sunchokes. But what IS a sunchoke?