Boston-based Clover Food Lab has set trends locally and garnered national attention with its mix of innovative sandwiches, pourover coffee, radical approach to sourcing locally, and tons of house-made tech. MIT grad and environmentalist Ayr Muir started Clover Food Lab in 2008, first testing the menu with a food truck on the edge of MIT’s campus. He openly admits he had little confidence that his vision would actually work: “I wasn’t sure if there was any way to get meat lovers to look forward to or even dream about a meatless meal…” Today 90 percent of Clover’s thousands of daily customers customers are not vegetarian, despite the fact that there is no meat on the menu.
Clover’s goal is to encourage meat lovers to eat a few meals a week without meat in an effort to address the negative consequences of livestock production, in particular the impact on global warming. According to the New York Times, meat and dairy have an outsize impact on global climate change, with livestock accounting for around 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases each year. That’s roughly the same amount as the emissions from all the cars, trucks, airplanes and ships combined in the world today.
Clover’s latest restaurant will be located at 565 Boylston St., Boston. Expected hours of operation are 7am - 10pm. The menu will consist of made-to-order sandwiches, salads, fries, house-made drinks, pourover coffee, and a full breakfast menu. Expected opening date is late September/ early October.
Clover claims to have received over 1,200 requests to open a restaurant in the Back Bay of Boston, some dating back to 2010 when the company only operated food trucks. “We’ve known for a long time that the Back Bay would be an amazing location for us to open a restaurant but we had to wait patiently for the right opportunity” says Muir. Boylston St. in the Back Bay is home to the highest volume fast casual restaurants in the Boston area with national heavyweights Sweetgreen, Tendergreens, Cava, Dig Inn, and others.
When asked why it has taken so long for Clover to respond to the many customer requests for a Back Bay location, Muir says: “We have been deliberate and careful in our expansion. We’re obsessed with little details, and making sure our tech supports our ambitions. But most of all we want to make sure we build meaningful relationships with our customers. Over 60% of our sales come from customers who eat with us more than 2x/ week.”
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