By Joseph Winters ‘20
On March 29, 2016, Harvard Square suffered a great loss. Students, faculty, and all manner of health-minded individuals mourned the closing of one of the most convenient farm-to-table fast food places around. Not that there were many to begin with… Either way, B.good’s closing was a blow to the food scene of Harvard Square. This Friday, however, B.good reopened with a bang on Eliot Street, in what eaters are describing as a much-needed addition to Harvard’s healthy food scene. “There just wasn’t hardly any place healthy to eat in the Square!” lamented one B.good customer as she devoured a scoop of lime-soaked quinoa.
The Crimson Crave visited B.good on its opening day, Friday, to survey the situation. We were greeted by Monika Bach Schroeder, Marketing Manager for the Harvard Square location. Schroeder was supervising a Wheel-of-Fortune style promotion—spin the wheel and walk away with some B.good sunglasses, a high-five, or, with some luck, a free burger. We were lucky enough to get the burger.
“We make real food,” the B.good website advertises boldly on its home page. A simple slogan, but it speaks volumes when seen in conjunction with the tangible measures B.good has taken to produce high quality fast food options. Customers can order classic items like burgers or sandwiches, but B.good also offers kale and grain bowls, seasonal salads, creative sides, and smoothies.
New additions to the B.good menu are “Plates”: Chipotle Avocado, Mediterranean Mezze, and Asian Bento. “We’re really proud of our new plates,” says Schroeder. “They speak a lot to our mission of staying innovative and fresh; we use seasonal ingredients to offer healthy food options.”
Apart from good food, Schroeder adds that the B.good team is “really excited about this community.” Harvard, she says, is a very engaged community, one into which B.good tries to integrate itself. On the day preceding the former B.good’s closing, they held a “pay what you can” day. All the day’s profits were donated to Y2Y, a homeless youth shelter in Cambridge. Upon their reopening, they held a similar project, raising $1700 for Y2Y, enough to provide over a full month of programming to the homeless shelter.
Local farmers are also beneficiaries. B.good sources many of its ingredients from farms in the Northeast. When we visited, a colorful map showed apples, cauliflower, squash, fresh mint, pumpkin, tomatoes, and yogurt all coming from Massachusetts, and many other ingredients like beef, bread, eggs, and bacon being sourced from the other northeastern states.
At the door this Friday, customers were greeted by Casey Ballin from Hannah Farm, a one acre plot of land on an island in Boston Harbor. Now managed by B.good, the farm benefits the local community, producing food for Camp Harbor View summer camp for at-risk youth. At the camp, teens learn to prepare healthy meals from local ingredients. Up to 20,000 pounds of produce are expected to be produced by Hannah Farm, with a majority being donated to the summer camp, and much being featured in B.good restaurants. “We did a feature a couple weeks ago, where we sold kale smoothies made with our own kale,” Ballin explained as he handed out samples of carrots and grape tomatoes from Hannah Farm.
This Friday was the first of many meals I’m sure I’ll be having at B.good. The chain brings its fresh dishes to the Square along with a fresh ideology, one that incorporates sustainability, local commerce, and—of course—delicious food. On the short walk to my seat, I ogled picnic pear and brie salads, Thai almond bowls, sweet potato fries, and even pumpkin milkshakes. I tried the Spicy Lime Avocado Bowl with their seasonal side: local cauliflower coated in cheddar and breadcrumbs. I might have over-ordered, but it was oh, so good. Plus, the side was free; first-time users of the B.good app will automatically get a side on the house! I would easily recommend B.good to anyone looking for a tasty, healthy morsel without the wait at a sit-down restaurant.