Neslted in Somerville is Union Square, an area that is more of a triangle shape, really, patiently awaiting the elusive Green Line extension and its chance at Boston tourism fame. Right in what is essentially the back lot space of various shops, you can find the brand new Bow Market, a 30-venue shopping and restaurant complex.
Hand-picked from local farmer and open-air markets, the vendors feature some of the trendiest “food concepts” (read: meals that are also "experiences") and “makers” (artists, thrifters and even cobblers) of the greater Boston area. Developed by partners Matthew Boyes-Watson and Zach Baum, the market came to life out of a dreamt-up question.
“If we want to live in a cooler place and a more fun place and a more interesting place, then why don’t we get involved and do it ourselves?” Zach tells Metro.
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Here is how you can squeeze in everything there is to do at Bow Market in just one day.
Breweries all over Boston have been partnering up with coffeehouses to get people in the door well before happy hour. Remnant Brewery, Bow’s largest occupant, is no exception. They’re partnering with the Barrington Coffee Roasting Company to serve you fresh roasts in the A.M.
Part of Bow’s approach was to build small storefronts for small, first-time business owners, with the larger venues reserved for events. There, Baum says, you might start your day a community yoga class, or workshops that come from collaborations between Bow residents. On other days, there might be cooking classes with Nibble, a culinary education initiative from the Somerville Arts Council, that occupies a corner space downstairs.
Bow will make you sad that there’s only one lunchtime per day. With Pagu’s Pierogis, a roast-beef and pizza from sandwich kings Mike & Patty’s, seafood bites and poke bowl from Hooked Fish Shop and to-go Buenas Empanadas, to name a few, Baum and Boyes-Watson made sure to hone in on unique eateries.
Saus, the Belgian-style Faneuil Hall establishment serving up poutine and liege waffles, will open its vegetarian twin in Bow, a venue that will offer the exact menu, only with meatless substitutes. Maca and Gâté Comme Des Filles, a.k.a that place that makes the Aeronaut Brewery smell like chocolate, will open dessert shops as well.
“Somerville and this area is such a cool, really different area, so I think you’d be doing it a disservice to have some mainstream development group coming in and putting in a bunch of chains,” Tanya Walker, co-owner of Saus says. “That’s not really what that area wants.”
Spots like Union Square Donuts and Juliet have already put the neighborhood on the foodie radar, but Baum says the Bow Market will make the area a retail destination. After holding pop-ups, markets and fairs, many of these small-scale places are opening up brick-and-mortar locations for the first time.
“When we thought about opening our own store, the cost was just so out of reach,” Cassandra Queen, co-owner of Peston, a clothing store selling homemade threads, says. “We were literally vending when Zach came up to our booth and was like ‘hey I like your stuff, you guys wants a store?’”
There’s also a custom-fit shoe shop, a stationary boutique, a Providence Island-based artist making lamps out of industrial leftovers, a record store, an eyebrow salon and a couple of handcrafted jewelry fronts.
After grabbing dinner at Tanám, a Filipino restaurant, or wine and bar snacks at Rebel Rebel, make one of your last stops the Comedy Studio, a 110-person theater with stand-up shows and guest appearances. You’ll have a full day, with a fully belly and plenty of hearty laughs to go around.
If you go:
Opens May 12, Bow Market, 1 Bow Market Way, Somerville, bowmarketsomerville.com