Julian Edelman’s MVP-level beard will live in perpetuity at a Boston restaurant. Hojoko just became the owner of the Super Bowl champion’s beard trimmings after successfully bidding $8,500 in an online charity auction. The money goes to the Boys & Girls Club, and the beard? Well, it’s going on display inside the Fenway favorite.
“We’re so excited. It’s so ridiculous,” says Hojoko co-owner Nancy Cushman, laughing.
Cushman and her husband, chef Tim Cushman, are—like most Bostonians—huge Patriots fans. They are also big Edelman fans, not just for his on-field heroics, but also because the wide receiver has been a vocal fan of Hojoko, and its burger in particular, for years. He’s a regular visitor to the Fenway restaurant, Cushman says.
“When we saw [the beard] went up for auction, we thought we could support Julian, support the Boys & Girls Club of Boston, and just have fun with the whole thing,” she says. “He’s been such a big supporter of ours, so we thought we would pay it forward for him as well.”
After the Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl ring and the wooly wide receiver earned MVP, probable Edelman superfan Ellen DeGeneres shaved No. 11’s beard on live television. A week later, DeGeneres announced the auction via CharityBuzz. The Cushmans’ entire $8,500 bid joins a $20,000 donation that DeGeneres and Edelman already made to the Boys & Girls Club; Cushman adds that her team is working to plan a charity event at Hojoko that celebrates their latest win and also supports the community youth organization.
Hojoko’s prize includes “a resealable zipper storage bag” full of hair, plus a photograph of the trim in progress, autographed by DeGeneres herself. The team isn’t sure exactly what they’ll do with the spoils just yet, but “you know Hojoko—it’s not going to stay in a bag for long,” says Alyssa DiPasquale, communications director for the Cushman Concepts restaurant group. “We’re definitely doing something with it. It will fit how wacky the rest of the restaurant is, for sure.”
For anyone reading this who’s feeling a little skeeved out about beard hairs living on in a popular bar, don’t worry: The famous shave will be securely displayed. “We will be keeping it in a tightly sealed container, so there’s no ‘Waiter, there’s a Julian-Edleman’s-beard-hair in my soup,'” Cushman says.
The Hojoko team watched live while Ellen shaved Edelman’s beard, and was “so tickled.” Bidding on it—and winning it—is just more fun. Cushman was joking with her team as they participated in the live auction today, “We have two Beards now. Tim has a James Beard award [for Best Chef: Northeast 2012], and now we have Julian’s beard.”
Hojoko will share on social media when it decides how to display the beard, and will also share more information about a charity event as details come together.
1271 Boylston St., Boston, 617-670-0507, hojokoboston.com.
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