A vegan pop-up that’s been showing at Boston-area breweries and cafes (suppose Lamplighter in Cambridge and 3 Little Figs in Somerville) since 2017 has discovered a everlasting dwelling in Somerville’s Union Sq.. Littleburg plans to function a takeout and ready meal supply restaurant at 5 Sanborn Ct., tucked neatly between Somerville favorites Bronwyn and Field & Vine. Littleburg is using the crowdfunding platform NuMarket to assist attain its fundraising objective.
“It feels surreal to be in such good firm,” says Littleburg founder Graham Boswell. “The placement couldn’t be extra splendid. We’re proper in the course of our highest buyer density — I do know as a result of we ship to their houses every week. And we’ll be a part of an ecosystem of vibrant eating places. The kindness and assist from the opposite operators in Union Sq. has meant so much to me. The sq. is that this plain vacation spot for superb meals; we’re fortunate to be part of it.”
Littleburg’s meals is impressed by numerous Mediterranean cuisines (Greek, Turkish, Moroccan, Israeli), and its menu will function a variety of sandwiches — together with its tackle a gyro, which Boswell calls the “star of the present” — in addition to pide (stuffed Turkish flatbread), numerous mezze, and extra. Greater than something, Littleburg isn’t within the enterprise of constructing vegan variations of non-vegan meals, however reasonably vegan meals that stands by itself deserves, a observe for which there’s a protracted custom.
“My mission to prepare dinner vegan meals that highlights greens isn’t a brand new one,” says Boswell. “It goes again to Deborah Madison opening Greens Restaurant in San Francisco with the said objective of serving vegetarian meals that avoids the cliches of vegetarian cooking. Dirt Candy in NYC follows on this custom. I used to be a prepare dinner at Oleana in Cambridge, the place greens are the star of the present most of the time, though it’s not a vegetarian restaurant. So I’m all the time looking for other ways to make use of greens to create terribly flavorful and satiating meals. That’s the way in which I wish to deliver vegan cooking into the mainstream — by displaying non-vegans the novel and stunning methods you may work with easy components.”
Whereas Boswell admits that it’s inconceivable to disregard business merchandise equivalent to Not possible meat, he doesn’t discover working with the stuff rewarding from a artistic standpoint. He’s blissful to see that such merchandise are serving to vegan cooking acquire some mainstream traction, however he says he’d by no means function them on certainly one of his menus.
“We make the whole lot from scratch; all of our bread is made by hand,” says Boswell. “So why would we outsource a business product to place inside that incredible bread? It’s way more fulfilling for us to create our personal deliciousness from uncooked components.”
When the pandemic struck and interrupted Littleburg’s mannequin as a pop-up, the enterprise started providing ready meals, accessible for takeout and supply. Boswell says he was fortunate to have the ability to make the pivot so simply, and that it truly allowed him to prepare dinner extra meals, extra incessantly, circumstances that helped Littleburg develop its attain and helped Boswell develop in confidence as a prepare dinner. Nonetheless, he says that making ready meals that required some at-home work made Littleburg reduce a few of its ambition when it comes to components, one thing Boswell is raring to alter as soon as he opens the brand new store in Union Sq..
“I’m actually trying ahead to returning to the extent of complexity doable when cooking meals reside reasonably than with meeting required at dwelling,” says Boswell. “We’ve scaled again on the complexity a bit as a result of we are able to’t embody one million parts with our supply gadgets. We’re going to get wild with layers of coloration and texture on our mezzes. A great deal of herbs, all of the crunchy issues we are able to throw at you. It’ll nonetheless be takeout, however in contrast to takeout you’ve seen earlier than.”
Takeout would be the important focus of the restaurant, however Littleburg will proceed providing ready meals as a result of doing so provides Boswell “a built-in alternative to road-test new recipes.” Littleburg’s new area functioned as a catering kitchen because the Eighties, so it’s already geared up with a lot of the gear the restaurant must stand up and operating rapidly. And if all goes to plan within the subsequent yr or so, Boswell says a small eating room might be within the works someday sooner or later.
“There is a chance to construct out an intimate eating room within the unfinished storage portion of our new dwelling,” he says. “I can image an incredible restaurant there: excessive ceilings, character, a brilliant open facade. It’s small however that’s what I’ve all the time needed. It’s going to be a giant undertaking to remodel it, nevertheless it’ll be actually, actually particular as soon as we do.”
For now, Boswell is specializing in how one can promote vegan meals.
“I received’t lie, it may be robust serving vegan meals in Boston,” says Boswell. “Sadly, many vegan spots have come and gone. I haven’t cracked the code on precisely what resonates with Bostonians. I’d prefer to see extra revolutionary, risk-taking ideas right here, nevertheless it’s robust to justify taking dangers when primary working prices are so excessive.”
“[But] vegan meals has completely develop into extra mainstream,” he continues. “It was once bizarre to eat vegan, however an increasing number of folks perceive the advantages and search vegan gadgets out. I positively suppose that will get extra people open to attempting what we provide. However we have to persistently prepare dinner scrumptious meals. That’s all that issues, vegan or not.”