A Letter from Stephanie
We have some big news. In many ways this change is exciting, full of opportunity and potential. In other ways, it is heartbreaking.
We are moving Bartleby’s headquarters from its birthplace in Massachusetts to northwest Arkansas. And not because we don’t love the amazing community here, because we do. Your smiling faces and hungry bellies have made our first two years in operation truly magical. We feel lucky to have so many incredible people who surround and support this project. I never thought this truck would make such a big impact―but wild dreams do come true. Mine certainly did.
Arkansas provides a really unique opportunity for Bartleby’s. There is a robust food truck community already established in Fayetteville, our destination, and the warmer climate will allow us to operate comfortably all year long. We are also looking to grow Bartleby’s menu, and in the heart of the south we can be immersed in the type of culinary scene that inspired our first recipes. The vegan lifestyle is becoming more mainstream: there are vegan options available at many restaurants, and a fully vegan restaurant slated to open over the next few months. Though the popularity of plant-based dining is surging in Arkansas, the demand currently exceeds the supply. Enter Bartleby’s.
Practically speaking, the lower cost of living provides Bartleby’s the opportunity to build out a major headquarters: a location to expand into wholesale distribution, grow our online business, and establish a dedicated storefront. Arkansas also puts my partner and I hundreds and hundreds of miles closer to our families.
While I am thrilled to build a new home for Bartleby’s in a place with so much opportunity for growth, I am equally sad to leave Boston. Boston is home to me, and the birthplace of Bart. I am profoundly grateful to this city and all you devils who have come by to try some nuggz, grab a Deluxe sandwich, or drizzle your meals with our scratch-made sauces.
Near the end of February, we will take approximately two months off to make the move south, set up in our new commissary, secure our location permits, and so forth. We will relaunch the online shop once settled so you can still have Bartleby’s delivered right to your doorstep, wherever you’re located. We also have plans to bring Bartleby’s back to the northeast in a more permanent way, so this isn’t goodbye. I hope to see you at our last few truck shifts, pop-ups, and cooking classes to share some smiles and say “see you later!”
Remaining Boston-Based Service
Bartleby's Seitan School
Tickets are required for Seitan School cooking classes―registration opens January 28. All eight sessions will be held at Food Rev, 3 Marble Street, Stoneham.
Download a PDF version of this letter and schedule:
Bartleby's_Seitan_Stand_relocation_letter_Jan2020.pdf (159 KB)
We always love visiting the Worcester area. We have so many devils out that way, even though we spend most of our time in Boston and Cambridge. Earlier this month, we got to participate in two Worcester County events in the same weekend.
Saturday, September 7, was the Self Help Festival at the Worcester Palladium. The Palladium has been around for ages, but this major music venue is only in its second year of hosting events outdoors. We parked our big blue and orange truck on the grounds for a long service day (about 9 hours!) and were able to see the stage and enjoy the music along with the crowds. We heard from a lot of customers how happy they were to have a vegan option available for the show! You can watch our tiny interview with Jane UnChained from our time there (below).
The next day, Sunday, September 8, we rolled out to Grafton for the 21st Annual Pet Rock Festival. This event is near and dear to our hearts. We love animals, and part of our desire in serving a plant-based menu is to do good by our fellow earthly inhabitants. The proceeds from Pet Rock Festival are distributed to various local animal welfare organizations, so we were glad to be a part of a day that provided direct help to our furry friends and crawly creatures.
Thanks for showing us the love, Worcester! We love you back and hope to see you again soon.
We were happy to sling seitan at the inaugural Taste of Stoneham event earlier this month. Each vendor was encouraged to serve a composed plate at $5.00, so I decided to make available a 5-piece serving of our signature nuggets (that’s a “Wee & Wicked” in our official menu jargon) and a side of tangy seasonal slaw. Having just that one option available made I had some extra time to speak face-to-face with customers. I really valued the opportunity to get to know the devils in the community where Bartleby hangs his horns (our commissary, Food rEvolution, is located in Stoneham).
There were electricity issues during the first hour of the event, and I was sad not to be able to feed people straight away. However, it was amazing to watch the organizers (members of the Stoneham Community Development Corporation) move into full-on emergency mode. They went well above and beyond to make sure things were up and running again ASAP.
The rest of the day was smooth sailing. The weather was perfect, and we saw such a good turnout. So many local families came by to share nuggets and try ALL THE SAUCES. We had lots of positive feedback on the day, and on the fact that our nuggets (and sauces) are always available for pick-up in Stoneham. I was glad to share information about Food rEvolution, since many curious citizens had been watching that building evolve over the years. Having a chance to promote aspects of the commissary, like the various cooking programs hosted there (including our upcoming Spooky Session of the Seitan School!) and the amazing businesses that operate out of the kitchen was the icing on the cake of a wicked awesome day in Stoneham.
On July 14, we rolled our truck westward to the Worcester Palladium to serve concertgoers at the Sad Summer Festival. This inaugural nationwide festival features headliners like State Champs, Mayday Parade, The Maine, and The Wonder Years, and encourages attendees to, ya know, have some feelings with their friends in the sultry summer sun. Emo on!
It was a true moment of seitan synchronicity, our taking part of the Sad Summer Festival. One of the devils who attended the Seitan Summer School recommended Bartlebyâs serve during the Palladiumâs outdoor concerts this season (weâll be back there on September 7 for the Self Help Festival!). A few excited emails back and forth, and there we were! Slinging seitan at a well organized event, with guidance from the excellent team at the Palladium.
The friendly concertgoers lined up 40+ devils deep to get our select sandwiches, nuggets, frickles, and fries. They could listen to all the bands while waiting on line, and the team on the truck could see all the action from where we were parked. It was loud, crazy, and fun! We heard from so many people how wicked happy they were to have a veg option available at the festival. The meat-eaters were impressed by our savory, southern-fried seitan and came back for seconds! We all had a great time and jammed the hell out.
We returned to Arlington on Saturday, June 15th for the annual Feast of the East! It's a super wholesome community festival featuring live music, a parade, tons of food, a soapbox derby, and heaps of other great activities. I love seeing everyone biking, strolling, and picnicking with their family and friends. It was a beautiful summer day to be out in the streets of Capitol Square. Summer is finally here! [Ed: Only briefly, it seems.]
We sold lots of cold summertime beverages (iced teas and lemonades) alongside orders of nuggies and sandwiches. It was great saying hello to repeat customers, and wicked great to meet new devils who were just walking by the truck, tried a sample, and then ordered whole mess of seitan! This year, our commissary neighbor Parfait parked just a block down from us. Parfait is a new Nice Cream truck (their frozen desserts are dairy free, soy free, gluten free, etc.) with kombucha and cold brew coffee on tap.
Later in the afternoon, as the crowds died down, we traded our sweet potato fries for Parfait pops, and I think everyone won. Especially our customers.
Thanks for hosting such a great day, Arlington devils!