A nearly decade-old pizzeria and sub shop near Tufts is in the midst of a renovation and rebranding that will bring a surplus of vegan and vegetarian dishes to the neighborhood. Eat at Jumbo’s (688 Broadway, Ball Square, Somerville) — already fairly vegetarian- and vegan-friendly — will get rid of meat altogether to become Sassafras Somerville. It’s located steps from another vegetarian dining option, Taco Party.
Jumbo’s/Sassafras owner Grover Taylor has started a public group on Facebook to keep fans apprised of developments at the restaurant. In the coming weeks, Taylor will transition to a role as creative director, overseeing financing and site development, while Christopher Silvia joins the team to manage day-to-day operations. The restaurant is about two weeks away from making this formal switch and changing names, according to Silvia, who was not previously involved with Eat at Jumbo’s.
“Sassafras Somerville is born out of the ashes of Eat at Jumbo’s” and is a “completely vegetarian [and] vegan restaurant,” per the Facebook group description. Taylor had long embraced meat-free options at Eat at Jumbo’s, from tofu tenders to vegan pizzas and calzones, and now the team is working on developing new menu items. In addition to dishes like a meatless Big Mac-inspired burger made with the Impossible Burger, there’s been testing for a vegan fried “chicken” cutlet club sandwich, as well as vegan sugar cookies and more.
Eat at Jumbo’s remains in operation during the renovations, which have been documented in part on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Stay tuned to social media for updates on a full changeover to Sassafras.
Update, 4/18, 10 a.m.: This story has been updated to reflect new information on the management team for Sassafras.
• Eat at Jumbo’s Coverage on Eater [EBOS]