Report: CloverHFI in Central Square to provide free food to bands playing the Middle East

Bands are usually hungry. Clover wants to feed them.

The ever-expanding Clover Food Lab is set to open a new brick and mortar shop, dubbed CloverHFI, on Wednesday, and the 24-hour Central Square eatery revealed a pretty cool perk to the Boston Globe today: Touring bands playing across the street at the Middle East will eat for free.

The plan is simple: “Bands eat free,” and there will be a glowing neon sign to entice musicians to cross Brookline Street and have a bite at the location where Hi-Fi Pizza fed hungry Cantabrigians for decades. We assume the “HFI” in the Central Square location’s name is a notable hat-tip to the old pizzeria that served the after-hours crowd from the area’s rock venues and long-gone nightclubs like ManRay before closing last year.

For more on Clover’s menu, click here.

Here’s more rom the Globe and the always on-point Steve Annear:

“I thought it’d be fun to have the sign, and we have been trying to think of ways to become a place that connects the neighborhood,” [Clover owner Ayr] Muir said. “We want to keep it friendly and informal. If you play there, we want to buy you a meal.”

All musicians have to do is bring in a flier from the venue proving that they just performed.

Muir said when he attended MIT he was a manager at the school’s radio station. One perk of the job was that he scored free tickets to concerts at the Middle East every week.

“I would go there almost every single night. It was probably the place I went to more than any other,” he said.

His fondness for the venue, and memories of attending shows there, are what led to the idea for the food giveaway.

CloverHFI will be Cambridge’s first 24-hour eat-in food joint, so musicians can either drop in after soundcheck or later at night after load-out. It certainly seems to be a good thing for both bands on the road and locals hungry after a gig.

The Globe adds that in addition to the neon sign, “the restaurant is going to feature television screens promoting upcoming performances at the Middle East, playlists of music featuring local bands that have appeared on the venue’s stage, and pinball machines.”