Articles by Eric Francis

Eat Your Coffee Helps Keep Medical Workers Caffeinated

Eat Your Coffee sold most of its product at offices, but with the pandemic shutdown it’s now trying to get its snack foods into the hands of doctors, nurses, and others. In response to the pressure being placed on medical personnel by the COVID-19 pandemic, a caffeine-fueled startup in Cambridge has kicked off a campaign […]


Pandemic Philanthropy: Local Investor Buys Groceries for 400

Customers shopping at the Somerville Market Basket during the hours set aside for seniors and those with compromised immune systems got a surprise last Friday and Saturday when Collin Yip picked up the tab for all their groceries. While he wished to remain anonymous at first, his good deed was confirmed by Kristin Phelan, spokeswoman […]


Keep the Kids Busy With a Cat, a Mouse, and an App

For 30 years in public television, Somervillian Marisa Wolsky has been able to focus on her raison d’etre: making educational content fun for kids. Her latest project has proven to be one of her most popular: the interactive “Scribbles and Ink” drawing app, based on children’s books by author and illustrator Ethan Long. “Children’s television […]


COVID-19 Could Be ‘Armageddon’ for Small Businesses

In a business sector that’s famed for its tight margins, the owner of Olde Magoun’s Saloon is not mincing words about how bad things are right now. In fact, Greg Coughlin has one word for it: Armageddon  “The current situation is dire for the restaurant industry in Boston and Somerville,” Coughlin says. “Most restaurants won’t […]


Somerville Delivers Gets Restaurants On The Same Page

According to Jessica Eshleman’s notes, the idea first went out from the Somerville Chamber of Commerce’s Dining & Nightlife Group last Tuesday: A joint effort to create a web page linking to all of the city’s restaurants that were offering delivery and take-out during the COVID-19 pandemic. To say the idea got traction would be […]


‘That was very fragile’: J.J. Gonson on Closing ONCE Somerville, and Refocusing on Cuisine en Locale

“I’m really sad,” says JJ Gonson, president and “proprietrix” of Cuisine en Locale—a Cambridge-founded, Somerville-based personal catering and delivery service that focuses on fresh and local ingredients. “I miss my staff.” A few weekends ago, she and that staff were hosting an event at ONCE Somerville, the two-room event hall that’s also part of her […]


La Brasa’s Daniel Bojorquez is ‘still in shock’

A couple of weeks ago, chef-owner Daniel Bojorquez and his staff at La Brasa and Fat Hen were excited. For all that was going on with the coronavirus, there was reason for optimism: They were on the verge of spring, graduation and wedding season was imminent, everyone could feel the energy. Then things started changing […]


Drinks Before Dinner

When Stephen Mackey became president and CEO of the Somerville Chamber of Commerce in 1995, the nation was in the midst of an urban resurgence and the city wanted a piece of it.  As he saw it, Somerville had three big advantages: It was the most densely populated city in New England, it was closer […]


Everything’s The Same, Everything’s Different

There are some 81,000 people living in Somerville’s 4.2 square miles of real estate, but there’s really just one you’re going to blame if our trash isn’t picked up or the roads aren’t plowed: the mayor.   Since 1872, 35 people have held that office. The current occupant, Mayor Joe Curtatone, is the city’s longest-serving […]


Where Has The Goose Gone?

Christmas is coming,the geese are getting fat …—traditional nursery rhyme The Christmas goose. It’s mentioned in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” depicted (in its yet-to-be-plucked form) in the Norman Rockwell painting “Christmas Goose/Muggelton’s Stagecoach,” and was a mainstay of the holiday table in England from the time of Elizabeth I into the Victorian era (where […]


So You Want To Throw The Perfect Holiday Party …

No one wants to be responsible for throwing a stale, boring party. With the holidays right at hand, it’s the ideal time to throw the perfect holiday party … and you want to make sure you get all the details right. Relax. You’ve got plenty of help. Setting The SceneCreating An Atmosphere Denize Ramos, manager […]


Active After the Leaves Fall

Let’s face it: There’s something to be said for staying in when the snow starts piling up and the air takes on a deep-freeze quality. You can be warm and snug, and also do things that you enjoy. The trick is, you don’t have to stay in at home.  Getting Cozy crafting series at the […]