Alumni Share Their Ingredients for Success

Eight alumni businesses are taking over 53 Commons on May 3 and sharing their products and recipes. Join us for a special menu featuring items from Still North, Lou's, Boloco, Claremont Spice, and many more.

In addition to the dining hall highlights, we are holding a panel in Paganucci Lounge from 5:30pm to 6:30pm, featuring Benjamin Nelson ’17, Jarett Berke ’17, and Nicole Carrier ’94 TU’97 and a sampling of their products. Learn about their success and pitfalls, and what it's like to be a leader in the food industry.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

4pm – 8:30pm: Alumni products featured in 53 Commons
5:30pm – 6:30pm: Alumni Panel with product tasting in Paganucci Lounge

Register Now

Meet the Alumni

Allie Levy ’11

Still North Books & Bar

Allie Levy '11 is the owner of Still North Books & Bar in Hanover, NH. Prior to returning to the Upper Valley, Allie spent time in the publishing and outdoor industries, with a focus on editing, event planning, marketing, and retail. She currently lives in West Lebanon, NH with her partner and two cats, Huck and Finn.

Menu items featured in 53 Commons:
Prosciutto, Egg, & Jam Sandwich
Beet, Egg, & Arugula Sandwich

Benjamin Nelson ’17

Co-Owner and Operator
Claremont Spice & Dry Goods

Ben Nelson ’17 was born and raised in the Upper Valley and always knew he wanted to live and work in the region that has been called home by his family for many generations.

After graduating Dartmouth College in 2017 with a focus on agricultural history, he took his studies to practice by working as a farm manager on a couple different farms in the Sugar River Valley. In 2019, together with his wife Chiara, he purchased Claremont Spice & Dry Goods in Claremont (NH), a gourmet food store that sells more than 300 different spices and blends, as well as a variety of local and imported goods. He is currently on the board of Vital Communities - a non-profit whose focus is facilitating food access in the region - and the Claremont Growers’ Collective. He is passionate about bridging the gap between farmers and consumers in underprivileged and rural areas, and understanding how small-scale farming can build resilience and help communities thrive in the face of climate change and a challenging economic landscape.

Menu items featured in 53 Commons:
Santa Maria Salmon
The Curry Tofu
Popcorn and Spice Sampling

Jarett Berke TU’17

Lou's Restaurant & Bakery

Born and raised in New Rochelle, NY in a family that owned several restaurants in NYC, Jarett Berke TU’17 took a circuitous but adventurous path to restaurant entrepreneurship. After high school, he attended the U.S. Naval Academy, was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Marines, and became a helicopter pilot then later a product manager for military aviation simulator systems. After nearly 11 years in uniform, several combat deployments, and almost 2000 flight hours, Jarett left a career focused on military aviation to attend the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. While in Hanover, he became enamored by the thought of running his own business and a year after graduating he acquired the iconic Lou’s Restaurant & Bakery in downtown Hanover, NH. Since taking over, Jarett has founded and led several small businesses in the food space and continues to work with entrepreneurs and in the Dartmouth and Hanover community. Jarett serves on several boards and is deeply involved with the community.

Menu items featured in 53 Commons:
Cider Donuts

John Pepper ’91 TU’97


John Pepper ’91 TU’97 is co-founder and Chief Worker Advocate of Boloco, a New England-based restaurant chain and Certified B Corp he co-founded founded in 1997 while a 2nd year at Tuck serving Modern Mexican-inspired food and beverages. He also co-founded B.Good, another fast-casual Boston-based restaurant chain, which sold in 2017 after growing to 80 locations.

John created 211vc to make investments in promising and purposeful consumer and consumer tech companies - it especially seeks opportunities that leverage technology to empower the hourly workforce. 211vc is supported by founders, CEOs and senior executives in restaurant and restaurant tech companies. Representative early investments and equity advisory roles include: Spindrift, Toast, Athletic Brewing Company, Margin Edge, Botanica Seattle, Incentivio, Tru, Aura Bora, among others.

John currently sits on the boards of Botanica Seattle, Hone, the non-profit Positive Tracks and the Hanover Improvement Society.
Pepper graduated from Dartmouth College in 1991 and received his MBA from the Tuck School in 1997. He was elected to the Selectboard of Norwich, VT and served as its Chairman until 2020. He vows never to run for a political position again.

His wife Maggie and their 3 kids live in Hanover, NH.

Menu items featured in 53 Commons:
Chips, Salsa, & Guac

Matt Gallira ’12

Big Mozz

Matt Gallira '12 is an English major at Dartmouth and started his first food business a year after graduation in New York City.  Big Mozz launched at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn two years later and we have served Big Mozz Sticks to millions of people around the country at events and music festivals.  You can find us at Madison Square Garden, Fenway Park, Lambeau Field, Philadelphia and Dallas stadiums, as well as restaurants and colleges around the country.

Menu items featured in 53 Commons:
Big Mozzarella Sticks

Nanci Gelb TUW’88

Off Our Rocker Cookies

The genesis of Off Our Rocker Cookies began with two women, a friendship and a desire to revitalize and create ourselves. We were motivated to create a business that utilized our skills, one as a marketer and the other a lawyer. While connecting and soul searching, we baked and baked, realizing that food was part of our connection. As Seniorpreneurs, we set out to build a business with a snack that we enjoyed, not compromising on ingredients or flavor and one that would bring customers to the table. We are motivated by our foodpreneur kin who rock it every day, the customers who love our product and our children who are our biggest supporters.

Menu items featured in 53 Commons:
Sweet Potato Cookie Assortment

Nicole Carrier ’94 TU’00

Co-Founder and President
Throwback Brewery

Nicole Carrier ’94 TU’00 is the Co-Founder and President of Throwback Brewery - a sustainably-minded brewery, farm, and restaurant dedicated to crafting farm-fresh beer and food from local ingredients. At Throwback, Nicole is responsible for marketing, business strategy, and finance. She also loves to 'crank out' sausage and salami, which is sold under the brand Lady Sausage. Prior to Throwback, Nicole spent almost two decades in IT and software, culminating as an executive at IBM. Nicole has a B.A. from Dartmouth College in Economics and Math, and an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Menu items featured in 53 Commons:
Salami Pizza
Beer and Brats

Rodrigo Vargas ’00

American Vinegar Works

Rodrigo Vargas ’00 is the founder of American Vinegar Works, an award winning producer of craft vinegars loved by chefs and home cooks.  American Vinegar Works has revived a process from the 1800s to make vinegars that are balanced and complex and have been featured in national publications ranging from The New York Times to Vogue.  AVW ferments vinegars exclusively from American ciders, wines, and brews in their historic mill building New England and in this way makes vinegars that have a sense of place-- handy since Rodrigo was a Geography major and class of 2000.

Menu items featured in 53 Commons:
Poulet au Vinaigre (Vinegar Chicken)