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: as an enterprise, we lose money every day we operate at ROW. But the story behind that dynamic is a bit more interesting, so I thought it would be good to share.
Lots of us who work at Clover live in Somerville (hi Kiernan and Sara!) It was fun for me to join the company just 6 months before opening our first Somerville locations in October 2022. I love the build. High ceilings, big windows, clean and bright. And Assembly Row is quite a fascinating neighborhood that seems to be evolving daily.
On the business side, it was relatively untested ground for Clover: a large restaurant in a mostly commercial area with a few big employers and luxury high-rises. ROW was a bet. And a year in, the traffic just isn’t there yet.
Even further in the weeds: this location is a uniquely complex one for Clover to run because it includes a full-on specialty grocery store in addition to the restaurant.
As a company, we don’t want to offer anything less than magical food experiences everywhere we serve, and Clover is not built to be a grocer. So while we did succeed in creating a beautiful marketplace packed with awesome locally-made goodies, the reality is that it’s a very heavy lift for the staff to keep it stocked, inventoried, price-tagged, tidied, and looking sharp (and to constantly source new delicious products we love).
As a company, it’s a time for us to simplify. We are laser-focused on the core businesses that make us great: Restaurants, Catering, and Meal Boxes. And handing back the keys to ROW will help us direct resources back into those core areas and strengthen Clover overall.
CloverROW will be open until 2pm tomorrow, Thursday, Nov 30. Thursday will be online ordering only. We hope you can stop by for a Brussels Sprout sandwich or a bowl of warming French Onion Soup. We’d love to see you!
And after Thursday? CloverHUB is your closest spot for in-person dining, and DoorDash, UberEats, and our Home-Delivery Meal Boxes are always good options to get the veggies you crave!
P.S. If you’re interested in reading even more about Clover’s experiences navigating the wild world of real estate, check out this article the Globe released this week, featuring an interview with Ayr and spotlighting 2 Clover restaurants in downtown Boston.