It's not quite Skynet, but robots are taking over another frontier: the kitchen.
Spyce, a new Boston restaurant located in Downtown Crossing, is taking hungry locals to the future with its high-tech approach to fast-casual cuisine. The recently opened eatery is being hailed as the world's first restaurant that features a robotic kitchen.
The project is the brainchild of co-founders Michael Farid, Kale Rogers, Brady Knight and Luke Schlueter, who came up with the idea while studying at MIT. The Spyce crew was tired of being priced out of local establishments and wanted to create a place that offered fast, great food without breaking the bank. Spyce serves up a variety of tasty bowls that cost as little as $7.50 each.
"It's really special to open our first restaurant in Boston," says Farid, who also serves as Spyce's CEO. "Boston and MIT has given me a lot. I've lived here for eight years and it's my home. So it's cool to be able to share the experience of our restaurant with Boston."
Since we're several years away from robots coming up with their own recipes, the Spyce team enlisted the help of acclaimed French chef and local restaurateur Daniel Boulud, who invested in the restaurant and serves as its culinary director. Café Boulud alum Sam Benson has also been tapped as Spyce's executive chef.
"Chef Daniel was instrumental in helping us turn this venture from what started as a primarily tech oriented project to the restaurant concept that it is today," Farid says. "His guidance in crafting the restaurant experience and the menu is what enabled us to get to where we are today."
After placing their orders via touch screen kiosks, guests can expect to have their food ready in about three minutes. Once an item is selected, robots in the kitchen combine the right ingredients before cooking the meal, which are then plated.
There is a bit of a human touch to the process, though, as employees will be on hand to help customers with ordering, as well as prepare the ingredients behind the scenes and garnish the final product before they're given to the guests.
While Farid acknowledges that the technology isn't 100 percent perfect yet, he believes that the Spyce system ensures a high level a consistency with its food.
"Some of the benefits are consistency and accuracy of our bowls, as well as enabling our staff to focus on customer service and presentation," Farid says. "Some of the challenges are that because it's such a new technology, it isn't perfect yet. We're still learning and working to remove glitches and bugs that may affect the customer experience."
Currently, Spyce's menu consists of around seven styles of bowls, including the Thai bowl, which is made with roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, bok choy, brown rice, and topped with a coconut Thai curry sauce, fried garlic, shallots and cilantro. Vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options are available as well.
If you go:
10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., 241 Washington St, Boston, spyce.com