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A decade ago, chef Matthew Morello was on the leading edge of a wave of gastropub-style restaurants. His Brasserie 28 in Andover became well-known as a neighborhood eatery that elevated comfort food with special attention to scratch-made preparations and high-quality ingredients, netting several BONS awards. These days, the New England native has joined with globe-trotting, British-born chef Chris White to explore another trending category – plant-based dining.

Hummingbird Nutritious Eats, slated to open in June in Haverhill, is billed as a “nutritionally focused, refined fast casual” restaurant, featuring items like the K.F.C. – a Korean-inspired cauliflower sandwich with kimchi aioli and pickled cucumbers – and carrot and chickpea curry.

Chris White and Matthew Morello

“We are very globally inspired, due to our experiences and travels, so that will show through our menus,” says White, whose career has included a number of Michelin-starred restaurants internationally, as well as time at MRM Nutrition, a California-based maker of nutritional supplements. “The story behind our focus and dream for Hummingbird is a fascinating one, spanning continents and combining 50 years of gastronomic and nutritionally focused cooking,” he adds.

Morello says the concept is focused on sustainably sourced and clean ingredients and, while not a vegan establishment, the menus and concepts will be very grain-, vegetable- and plant-forward, including plenty for those eating a strict plant-based diet. And the plan is to elevate those offerings with the expertise the pair brings to the kitchen.

“The refinement comes from the desire to treat humble foods with the respect they deserve, being fully transparent with what ingredients we use,” Morello explains. To that end, they expect to work closely with local farms, as well as focus more broadly on sustainability, seeking like-minded growers and suppliers. 

The counter-service spot will be open from late morning to early evening, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner options and an equal focus on retail and grab-and-go prepared meals, drinks, snacks, and desserts.

“Our interpretation of fast casual is somewhere that can accommodate both dining and dashing,” White says, noting that Haverhill, where both chefs live, feels like a perfect spot for the new venture. “The space for Hummingbird is a thing of beauty, and something that we have been in love with for nearly two years,” he says. “We appreciate the desire, due to the growing and flourishing Haverhill community, for more nutritionally focused options.”

While no alcohol is on the menu, Hummingbird is closed on weekend evenings, leaving the space available for private events, masterclasses, or supper clubs. “We can have a BYOB license for wine dinners and tasting menus, along with other exclusive uses, leaving options limitless,” Morello says.  “In a nutshell, this focus is a win-win for everyone. … It allows us to give something back – cook the food we believe in while making it appeal not only to your palate and day-to-day lives, but also to your health and wallet.”

Watch the Hummingbird Nutritious Eats Facebook page for the opening date.

87 Washington St., Haverhill