Clover Food Lab to Take Over Hi-Fi Pizza Spot
The empty space that once housed Hi-Fi Pizza and Subs, a 45-year stalwart in Central Square, officially has a new tenant. Clover Food Lab owner Ayr Muir has confirmed that he’s building his sixth restaurant at the revered spot, and he has a couple of new surprises in store.
“I think this will be different,” says Muir. “Everything we’ve opened is pretty unique to where it is. I don’t know exactly what that will mean. I think the structure of the menu will be the same, but the selection will be different based on the preferences of the area. Sometimes we just have an idea and we throw it out there. People often ask where the food lab is. A lot people don’t know this, but the lab is the customers. Through that process we’re going to learn a ton about this new restaurant.”
Clover will continue to focus on local and seasonal ingredients, but Muir intends on unveiling more snack foods and possibly even a late-night menu. “We plan on doing some fun stuff around house-made sodas, fried snacks, and crudités. The snacks have always been a small part of what we do. We started them at one of the food trucks way back about four years ago. We called them 3p.m. Specials because they were only available after the lunch rush. We’ll need to make a late-night special there [in Central Square] which will be really fun.”
In the past, 3 p.m. Specials have included everything from fried Grillo’s Pickles and apple fritters to doughnuts and freshly roasted corn-on-the-cob. “One of the things I really want to explore are crudités. We did one about a month ago using a bunch of root vegetables, pickled beets, carrots, watermelon radishes, and a Hungarian cheese. I know it’s not as exciting as a doughnut— whenever we sell doughnuts, we’ll sell 200 in 20 minutes— but, I’d like to get people as excited about the crudité.”
Even though Hi-Fi Pizza closed its doors in early March, Muir predicts that Clover could be up and running by the end of April. “We’ve been looking for a place in Central Square for at least three or four years,” Muir says. “Sometimes these things take a while to come to fruition. We weren’t actively looking, but this location came available and the opportunity is fantastic. The landlord knew Clover and so this all happened really quickly. I can tell you, I wasn’t a very good negotiator on this one. Usually when you’re going to lease a space, you negotiate things like rent. You never want to overplay your hand and let them know how much you like it. But it’s a great spot and he knew immediately how much I wanted to be there.”