I'm Glad the World Has Clover

By a friend, fan, and former employee of the organic food chain.

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In a remote village bordering the Himalayas, I recently found myself sitting in a small cafe staring fondly at, of all things, a napkin.

I’d had to blow my nose, and was surprised to pull out of my backpack a familiar piece of paper branded with the Clover logo.

This rekindled in me an appreciation for the community surrounding the company, something that I’ve come to cherish both for it’s influence on my life and on the communities around which its grown.

My Introduction to Clover

A few years ago I was working at a software company in Burlington, Massachusetts. 

It was a wonderful area, but it was also a time during which I was struggling. I didn’t like what I was doing, and felt a distinct lack of community support around the place where I was spending so much of my time. 

Lunch breaks, for me, were therefore always a necessary respite from the monotony of my occupation.

I’d make sure to meet up with friends who worked nearby, to meditate, or to just walk with the anxiety that had become inherent to the job.  

Every week or so, I’d eat at one of the many local food joints that had cropped up around the business of Burlington. So, one righteous afternoon, I happened to stumble across Clover BUR. 

I’d never heard of it. But from the outside it appeared to serve healthy food, contain friendly people, and therefore seemed worth a shot.

I was drawn inwards to be greeted by this wonderful human with a goofy smile and an unfake-able warmth. With an iPhone in hand, a money belt strapped to his waist, and a glow about him, I easily felt a kinship that I try to realize with everyone whom I encounter.

He introduced himself to me as Rob, and I was inspired that he spoke to me as a friend, as a human, rather than with a server-customer mentality. He was real. Happy to be doing what he was doing.

I immediately knew I liked the place.

I proceeded to receive the most comprehensive, hilarious description of what Clover was about. I got detailed insight into what turned out to be some of the best food I’d ever tasted, and was encouraged to try several drinks that were wacky and wonderful.

My forays to Clover became more and more frequent, and I came to love it the restaurant more and more.

I think the world needs more organizations like it, and I’m happy that change is coming.

Here’s why:

  1. They experiment, and fail often.

    • Clover is transparent. Theirs a massive community influence on their food. From public meetings, to locally sourced and supported ingredients, I feel there to be a massive group influence on company’s development.

    • New dishes are named after the community members that helped create them, and the openness to new ideas and cultural influences result in some of the most unique and delicious concoctions that I’ve come across.

    • Everything is seasonal. Things come and go, the good and the bad alike. It is this impermanence that lends to the wonder of the food.

  2. Speaking of the food….

    • At Clover, its amazing.

    • Food is important to me. Its life energy. What I eat, how I eat, where my food comes from, how it’s made…these are all important factors in my evaluation of any meal.

    • At Clover, I have been satisfied, elated, grateful, and mindful of and for my meals.

    • The produce is all locally and sustainably sourced, and its so apparent when taste or even just see the food. Its made with awareness, and precision. The ingredients are spread such that you get the intended flavor with each bite. I feel that there exists the care, love, and intention allocated towards making my food that I would want.

    • If your meal isn’t the best thing ever, you’re often made another with no questions asked and with an overwhelmingly sincere apology.

    • Every Clover location that I’ve visited has a nice atmosphere that has helped me to eat mindfully and appreciate the many hands that came together to bring me sustenance.

  3. Pitas and hummus….

    • This had to be, in my mind, given its own point of importance.

    • Clover has some of the best pita I’ve had in my life. And while I’m no pita connoisseur, I’ve had a fair share around the world (in the middle-east, the US, and a myriad of other countries).

    • They’re made in house daily, feature in some of the incredible sandwiches, and make my belly long for the familiar feeling just thinking about them.

    • The hummus is silky, nourishing, and unique in flavor. I’m not sick of it. And I ate it a lot.

  4. The mission.

    • Clover’s on a mission to make the world better. Something that I think that any company should stress. Especially those in the food industry who have the opportunity to directly influence the global community culturally, environmentally, and physiologically.

    • Every material you receive from Clover, from the utensils to the containers, are compostable. Everything? Everything.

    • They spread awareness about how being mindful about what you eat impacts the world, and how small alterations lead to big changes.

  5. The employee culture.

    • I loved people-watching the employees as they worked. I’d have awesome conversations, and noticed that they all really bought into Clover’s mission.

    • I liked the people so much that I actually started working at Clover despite having a good-paying job that I really enjoyed (this was some time after the software company).

    • I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Clover from the back end. As an employee, it doesn’t matter if you’re Gordon Ramsey. Everyone starts off in the same position. There’s no hierarchy in the sense of “standing”. Everyone gets down and dirty cleaning the toilets. You feel like a human, and I’m so glad I got to experience working there. I got to work with amazing food. My opinion was asked for and listened to. I got to meet amazing people, learn all about food science, and enjoyed the intensely people/community-focused nature of the work.

  6. The customers.

    • The customers that go to Clover tend to be different in the best sort of ways. Sure, you get some rude people inherent to anything in the restaurant industry. But there’s a friendliness and a palpable sense of contentment in the air anywhere there is a Clover. From the student centric location in Harvard, to suburban locations like Westford in the heart of the local Whole Foods.

    • Its no surprise really…if you’re eating food that is nourishing and unprocessed, around people that care about it, that positivity is bound to continue growing.

  7. I’m continually (and pleasantly) surprised.

    • Things that I wouldn’t in a million years think of have a place on the menu. From lassi sodas, to paneer sandwiches, to falafel, to some of the best coffee you’ve ever tasted. 

If you’ve never had the priviledge of visiting a Clover, I’d encourage you to do so. Happy eating friends : )

Thanks for reading!