May 10, 2021

Secrets at Clover? Testing, testing, beta beta beta

You all know how we value transparency and talking openly about everything we do, even our screw ups. So writing this note feels a bit wrong to me. These aren’t exactly secrets per se, more like a skunkworks that we just haven’t talked much about. This is going to be a long-ish post but I want to get this all off my chest : )

First: Ready Meals

We started shipping “Ready Meals” back in October. We’re putting them on hold starting in two weeks. So why am I talking about them now? They were super limited to start, which is why we kept them sort of hush-hush. And really a beta test. They arose out of our own desire to have really delicious super convenient meals while we were working form home. Greg and I are both really bummed these are going away because our kids and households have come to sort of rely on them.

We launched a pilot program of subscription meals that were delivered in groups of 5 to subscribers’ households on Sundays. The idea was all of your lunch meals for that week were taken care of. They are/were super affordable ($6/ meal delivered), incredibly convenient, and really yummy. We were shipping about 180/ week. But the Clover Meal Box program is growing so so fast we just don’t have the capacity to continue to grow the Ready Meals right now with the size of our kitchen. So we’re going to put it on hold until we have a larger facility. I want to get this program to 2-5,000 meals/ week at some point. Tons of nutritionally dense, locally sourced, affordable veggie meals for everybody in Boston. Hang tight. Ready Meals will return.

Second: Taco Tuesday

You may have already heard about this one. We’ve been trying to keep it on the down low but it’s generated quite a bit of excitement already. We’re piloting a new type of subscription. You rely on us to take care of one of your household dinners/ week. We’re starting with a “Taco Tuesday.” If you subscribe week your household will get everything you need for an incredibly delicious taco feast. Changing weekly. Hearty servings, you will have lots of leftovers. Seasonal ingredients (of course). Includes amazing stuff we love like New England grown heirloom beans, proper fresh heirloom corn masa tortilla, and more yumminess. And it happens to be vegan and gluten free.

And yes, we have plans for a Pizza Friday. And a Sausage Sunday. And more… I think almost any household that cooks from scratch ends up building a bit of a schedule. At my house we have pasta on Thursdays. We have pancakes or waffles Sunday mornings. We have baked beans Sunday dinner, or Tagine in the winter. These rhythms create something to look forward to, they help keep us eating well and they make planning meals less of a hassle. I want Clover to help take the weight off of a few of your weekly dinners.

Third: Pita for sale at Whole Foods Market

We’re doing a pilot where we’re selling our own pita, made daily in our special oven with fresh grain from Maine. They look like a legit grocery product, with colorful label and merchandiser and everything. We’re having fun with these. Currently available at Whole Foods Sudbury and Whole Foods Westford. Coming soon to more locations?

Fourth: Clover Meal Club

We started Beta testing this 3 years ago. It’s a long development cycle. But that’s because I think it’s so so important. I believe this is the future for our industry. Time will tell if I’m right.

This program allows you to actually subscribe to a restaurant. What does that mean? You commit to a certain frequency of meals (e.g., 4 breakfasts/ week at Clover), and we give you a massive discount (e.g., 30% off in this case). We want to serve daily meals, and this moves us further in that direction. We’re trying to combine ingredients that are better than you can source at home, balanced in a way you might not achieve unless you are a nutritionist, with techniques that might be hard to pull off at home, at a price that is competitive with grocery shopping.

You can actually sign up for this now if you want. You can cancel anytime and pause if you’re away. It’s an amazing program. The only reason we’re not screaming about this one is that I think my voice might be lost to the winds of COVID. When people are back in daily work routines we’re going to put a big push behind this to get the word out. In the meantime it’s right here in your app, that button in the middle on the bottom, and open to anybody curious enough to explore.

Fifth: New restaurants

We’ll be doing more formal announcements later but we were in process on 2 new restaurants when COVID hit. We’ve restarted those projects and are really really excited about them. One is in the Prudential Center right next to the Sweetgreen (August-ish open). The other is in Newtonville at a new development called Trio at Washington and Chestnut streets. More on this later.

Whew. That feels better. Still 3 big projects I’m working on that I can’t talk about for various reasons, legal and relationship. I’ll share those as soon as I can.

Recent Posts

May 14, 2024
About a year and a half ago, at an open-to-the-public food development meeting at Clover, we blind taste-tested a new plant-based pulled pork. This wasn’t a totally new thing for us to do—as a company with a climate mission, we tend to get a lot of samples of plant-based everything, and we love trying all of them. We’ve tried mycelium-based mushroom meats, wheat-and-soy nuggets, and burgers made from kelp. One bite in, and it was clear this pulled pork was special.
May 8, 2024
Squeaky paneer, mint cilantro chutney, chaat, and our first-ever collab with a local chef. Remember when Pushpir came into the kitchen and schooled us on Northern Indian food? That was 2013. A different CloverHSQ than the one you visit today (back then we were at 7 Holyoke St, across the street from where Kevin and his team now serve you). I still remember the smell of the cilantro, mint, jalapeños, and orange juice Pushpir was blending in the Vitamix. We hadn’t smelled that exact combo before…
April 16, 2024
This week has been a flurry of preparations as we kick off the 2024 food truck season. We did an event at Tufts over the weekend, in a few days we’ll be selling breakfast and lunch at a conference at the Media Lab at MIT, and this weekend we’ll be pulling up to a private party with sandwiches and appetizers.
March 27, 2024
Every year, just after Valentine’s Day, we start getting the same question in from customers: Will there be a Passover Box this year? Sometimes the pleas are more direct, sometimes more colorful. The glories of the vegetarian Chopped Liver are a common theme. This year, Sarah, an NYC-based friend of mine said she’s spent so much time thinking about the emails describing last year’s box that she’s DRIVING UP TO BOSTON to claim one!
February 15, 2024
We have a new sandwich out everywhere today. It’s a take on a Buffalo Chicken sandwich. We use celery root, aka celeriac, this nobbly, gnarled joy of a winter vegetable. We cut it into planks, batter it with panko, and fry it. We’re getting ours from Norwich Meadows Farm, a farm in NY state that’s known for creating really flavorful organic veggies using a cool irrigation system. 
February 7, 2024
For the week of Valentine’s Day, we’ll be delivering these Making Whoopie (Pie) Kits 😉. They have everything you need to make whoopie pies — more specifically, Chris’ favorite oatmeal cakes with beet buttercream frosting. You’ll also get a scoop for making the perfect size pie, and a roll of sugar cookie dough for more sweet fun.
January 18, 2024
Pull out your plaid and cue up the bagpipes because it’s Clover’s third-ever celebration of Burns Night, an introduction to Scottish food/drink/music/poetry and a reason to raise a glass during this dark and cold month! You may be asking yourself, what is Burns Night?
January 17, 2024
Chances are you’ve tried the new Clover Bowls. We’ve been running them since the Spring. After a few tweaks, we landed on a roster we love: the Mediterranean Bowl, the Verde Rice and Bean Bowl, and a Rotating Seasonal Bowl. The bowls have transformed our menu – Josh, a Kendall customer, recently wrote to us, “The beet poke bowl is the best new item I’ve tried at Clover in years. I love the freshness and bite of the mix of flavors.” We’ve also heard some very good suggestions about how to make them even better…
January 3, 2024
Meet the Veggie Monster Meal Box! Some of you are subscribers to our Friday newsletter about plant-based cooking. Now… that newsletter has spawned a meal box! Pack your fridge with everything you need to make an entire week of vegetable-based meals. Think hearty pot pies; sweet and spicy maple-roasted squash tacos; bowls packed with…
December 20, 2023
New Year’s Eve is no time to be buried in the kitchen, so we pack our NYE Box with Clover fan favorites that come together fast and encourage a night of Finger-Food Feasting. Can you think of anything better than digging into bubbling hot Brussels Sprout Cheese dip on a freezing cold Boston night? Or scooping up our bright nutty Romesco sauce as the clock ticks to midnight?  And our breakthrough Carrot Lox (probably the best thing to come out of our food dev in 2023) will have you resolving to spare more salmon in the year ahead.
December 19, 2023
Stop by Clover today (Tuesday 12/19) and when you order a Brussels Sandwich on the app, we’ll give you $1 off our new chocolate chip cookie! It’s a gift from King Brussels, on his final day in the Clover Kingdom. Use this link to get yours!
December 16, 2023
Are you looking for the perfect gift for a friend who loves Clover? We have online gift cards! You can specify a time that you’d like the card to hit their inbox – and there’s a new feature that lets multiple people pool money to send a card to one person. Pretty cool!