Whole Heart Provisions opened in the Smith Campus Center Sunday, boasting a colorful vegetarian and vegan menu of mixed vegetable bowls as well as snacks like shishito peppers, seared avocado, and brussel sprouts.
The Harvard Square branch is the plant-based restaurant chain’s third location. Co-founders Rebecca Arnold and James V. DiSabatino said they hope the location will become an integrated part of Harvard. The duo handed out free t-shirts to the first 20 customers, reading “Eat Kale Beet Yale.”
In September 2015, Whole Heart Provisions opened its first location in Allston, followed by one in Central Square this past spring. Around the same time, according to DiSabatino, Harvard approached the co-founders about a location in the Smith Center.
“At first, we didn’t know if we wanted to open two new locations in the same year,” DiSabatino said. After the initial hesitation, it was the Smith Campus Center setting that persuaded them. “As soon as they showed us pictures of what this building was going to be, we kind of said ‘Yeah, I think we need to be part of it.’”
Whole Heart’s Communications Director, Meghan S. Goodwin ’15, who is also the head coach of the Harvard Cheer team, said the restaurant’s business model emphasizes healthy eating above all.
“First and foremost we want to create delicious food that people crave. That’s our number one goal. I guess, the second tier of our mission is ‘It’s good for your body.’ We always say ‘You can eat Whole Heart seven days a week. You’re never going to go into a food coma,’” Goodwin said.
DiSabatino added that he sees a meat-free diet as a forward-looking move.
“I think it’s just looking at the future. A hundred years from now are we going to be eating less meat or more meat as a society? I think it’s pretty clear it’s going to be less, because the planet kind of depends on it,” DiSabatino said.
Customers eagerly flocked to the Smitch Center when Whole Heart opened for business Sunday morning.
Steven Wang, who said he is a regular at Whole Heart’s Central Square location, grabbed sesame shishitos—and a free “Eat Kale Beet Yale” shirt—at the opening.
“Definitely going to be repping the shirt a lot. It’s gonna be pretty dope,” Wang said.
Jacqueline F. Tubbs ’22, who is working towards being vegetarian, said the restaurant would make her transition easier because it’s centrally located and healthy. “It’s for us, for people who aren’t eating meat as much. So it’s cool,” Tubbs said.
Whole Heart Provisions is the final restaurant to open in the Smith Campus Center, which itself opened to fanfare last month after more than two years of renovations. The campus center now boasts seven restaurants on its ground floor.
“We really like to immerse ourselves in the community,” Goodwin said. “We’re kind of psyched, even just by our location, to already be knee-deep in it.”