May 28, 2021

I don’t want things to go back to the way they were. Do you?

I feel that buzz, a combination of lightness and relief. Our restaurants are full of people again. Damn that feels good.

15 months ago, we closed our restaurants when we didn’t know enough. Then when we knew in-person contact was dangerous, we reopened for takeout only and built a home meal kit business. Now that we know vaccines are incredibly effective, we’ve officially reopened indoor dining. And starting May 29 we will allow vaccinated people to unmask in the restaurants, per the change in MA guidelines.

Wow, it feels good.

Read this note I received on Tuesday, from day 1 of indoor dining at our Boylston St location –

I’ve written quite a number of Yelp reviews in the past, but never one where I wasn’t actually there. My daughter was. I just got off the phone with her. She’s one of the many people burdened with food intolerances, and has found the restaurant experience to be more stressful than pleasurable. Not at Clover Food Lab. Her server was interested in knowing as much about her food intolerances as she was willing to tell her, then took a minute to say the following: “You deserve to eat something great, that absolutely respects your condition, as much as anyone else does. It’s not a problem. I’m going to personally make sure there is no cross-contamination. I’m going to make it my mission to see that you have a great meal that doesn’t cause you pain.” 

Honestly, hearing this second-hand made a father weak in the knees with gratitude. My daughter was extremely happy with her meal, and we are lastingly grateful for this person’s kindness—obviously the result of a culture at Clover Food Lab that I wish was more common. I feel like hopping on a train right now. It’s only 7 hours. I’m that grateful.

—Mark from Baltimore

That’s the business we’re in. That is what we’ve all been missing. 

People keep saying, “I can’t wait for things to return to the way they were.” But is that really true? I don’t want things to return to the way they were. Do you?

I’m aiming at something different. Let’s not go back to where we were, let’s move forward to something better.

It’s taught us just how much our farmers and local food suppliers mean to us. Let’s keep those relationships strong and continue to help one another build healthy businesses. If you’re reading this buy some flour from Maine Grains.  And let’s not go back to restaurants seeing one another as competitors. Let’s continue to work collaboratively and help one another. We’re so excited to get back to our favorite restaurants. Visit FlourVilla MexicoMei Mei. Pick up some amazing baked goods from Bondir

I hope we’ve learned things about making a better workplace. The restaurant industry has depended on racism for years. The tipped subminimum wage may be one of the most broadly-applied overtly-racist laws in our country. Many restaurants rely on segregated working environments. Women and men are promoted unequally in many kitchens. Let’s take an active role in figuring out why that is, and in making changes.

It’s easy to think of a restaurant as just a physical space. Just a building with tables and a kitchen, and a certain look and feel. But the magic in restaurants is more subtle. It’s the fabric of relationships that develop around these nodes. The sparks of creativity. The triumphs. The challenging moments. The beautiful bites. The stories behind them.

Welcome forward. Everything will be different tomorrow if we work together to make that happen. 

— Ayr

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!