Where Everyone Can Find Common Ground
By: Chris Setterlund, December 21, 2011
Chris Setterlund - Common Ground offers some respite from the cold, hard world with wholesome, healthy drinks, baked goods, soups, and sandwiches.
When is a restaurant not just a restaurant? When it is the Common Ground on Main Street in Hyannis. Though it's become a well-known lunch spot since opening 16 years ago, you may be surprised to find that there are many similar cafés run by the Twelve Tribes, part of a community stretching across the United States and even Germany, Canada, Spain, Brazil, and Australia.
Even before entering Common Ground, I had heard rave reviews about their smoothies. I sampled the peanut butter cup smoothie, which an employee named Jeremy said is “like a meal.” He was right.
If you go...
420 Main Street, Hyannis
I asked Nezer, the manager at Common Ground, what the secret was. His answer was quite simple: “no fillers.” What he means is that there is no ice added; it’s all straight fruit or whatever other ingredients are called for. This makes them heavy and thick and amazing.
Common Ground uses heavy-duty blenders to mix their amazing smoothies. In addition to the popular peanut butter cup and strawberry smoothies, there are seasonal flavors: autumn will see a pumpkin smoothie and in the winter, they feature an eggnog smoothie.
Smoothies are not the only thing Common Ground specializes in. I tried the Pauper sandwich, an exquisite blend of turkey and barbecue sauce. Nezer told me that the most popular items are the chicken Caeser wrap and tuna melt. The chefs actually make their own mayonnaise too, although Nezer said it is rather “unspectacular” to make.
Common Ground also specializes in hot or iced lemon mate tea, made from fresh yerba maté grown at one of their locations in Brazil. Maté is a natural energizer like coffee without jitters or a crash afterwards. Nezer said that they make a minimum of five gallons of the delicious, refreshing, and energizing drink per day.
A welcoming, enchanted forest
One of the most striking things about Common Ground is its atmosphere. It has the feel of an enchanted forest. There are a few booths on the lower level that make it seem like you are sitting inside a hollowed-out tree. Soothing traditional Irish music, Israeli, or Peruvian music plays in the background, as well as music created by the staff themselves.
There is an upstairs to Common Ground as well, usually frequented by the students from the nearby Sturgis Charter School. They are allowed to come and sit even if they bring in their own food. This fact sums up Common Ground and the beliefs of the Twelve Tribes group, which—as the restaurant’s name implies—is about being all-inclusive, loving, and accepting.
The love of the delectable food is what the Common Ground folks and its customers have in common. I believe Nezer summed it up well when he said the restaurant is “here to be friendly [and] consistent, because life is not consistent.” To be ultra-consistent, they are even open on Thanksgiving and Christmas.