Sunday, April 21, 2024

Source, a Harvard Square gastropub and pizza bar, makes a message about air filtering against spread of coronavirus prominent on its website.

The Source gastropub is set to open Saturday in Harvard Square with more to boast of than just chef Brian Kevorkian’s wood-fired pizzas.

Its heating and air conditioning system has I-Wave air purification filters “proven to eliminate multiple airborne pathogens including Covid-19, making the air some of the cleanest in the country,” the restaurant said in a Tuesday email.

Visit the restaurant’s website and you’re greeted by a popup not about the launch or menu, but telling customers they can “feel confident and safe in your dining experience” with its air filters – running through four paragraphs and two graphics about test results that in other years you wouldn’t find outside a medical journal. Within a half-hour of running the same filtering being used inside Source, 99.4 percent of coronavirus from a petri dish had been whooshed away, the popup says.

“[Safety] is always part of the message for a restaurant, because every time a guest comes and dines with you, you are on some level responsible for their lives, between allergies and any potential foodborne illness, how you handle your food, how you do the supply chain and the receiving – every step,” Source owner Daniel Roughan said. “Now it’s more than ever.”

Source knew in March it would need to replace the space’s existing heating and air conditioning, he said, and his contractor offered one with an air filtration system in use in hospitals and government offices. It was eventually tested against Covid-19 with stellar results. “I was like, ‘Yes, sign me up,’” Roughan said. “It’s an extra cost. But it’s a cost I’ll figure it out, I’ll find a way to make it happen.”

“This is the cleanest air out of at least out of any restaurant in this state,” he said – while noting that the squeamish can still enjoy Source’s food through delivery and curbside pickup. (There are also plexiglass dividers between tables, and diners are expected to wear their masks unless they’re eating or drinking.)

Denise Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, said Thursday that she was pleased by the efforts Roughan made toward diner safety, perhaps easier for a restaurant renovating for a grand opening than for those open for decades in often even older spaces. “Maybe others will do it,” she said.

Some already have. Patrick Barrett, who opened Central Square’s 907 Main hotel in September, said the hotel’s ground-floor restaurant, The Dial, also has air filters running and other stringent safety measures in place to protect its diners. “In our place, we use electrostatic foggers. We have UV, copper-lined HEPA filters, we have a deep-cleaning protocol, we have plexiglass,” Barrett said.

A plating by Source chef Brian Kevorkian. (Photo: Source)

Jillson called Roughan courageous for opening as Covid-19 cases were surging even in cautious Cambridge – “Can you imagine opening at the end of November in the middle of a pandemic?” – and said it will be “so great to be able to see that sign light up on Church Street.”

Source replaces the charcoal-grilled pizza restaurant Cambridge, 1., which closed in December after 29 years inside Harvard Square’s former fire station.

The food isn’t just pizzas ranging from a margarita to a Spicy Clam with charred broccolini, but also small plates (wood-charred curried chicken wings; pickled tomato skewers) pastas, entrees (salted, baked Bronzino; black bass with pancetta) and homemade desserts. Owners and managers say an estimated 90 percent of the food and beverage menus will be from within 100 miles of the restaurant, including local breweries such as Nightshift, Aeronaut and Idle Hands and distillers such as Bully Boy, Crooked Oak and Short Path. The cocktail menu will have large-batch drinks called “The Vessels” for sharing.

Source, at 27 Church St., Harvard Square, plans to begin serving at 4 p.m. Saturday and be open  daily for lunch, dinner and Saturday and Sunday brunch.