Last week, we told you that the Gloucester-based pierogi pop-up Jaju Pierogi will set up shop at Bow Market when it opens in Union Square. And it looks like Jaju won’t be the only farmers market favorite headed for the shared restaurant and retail space—the Greater Boston macaronerie Maca will also make its brick-and-mortar debut at Bow.
Maca is known for inventive flavors—take “tropical storm,” for example, a mix of banana, pineapple, coconut and passionfruit—though it’s perhaps better known for its quirky pop culture creations, from Pokémon to Star Wars to Despicable Me.
“I’m really not an artist,” insists Tamy Chung, the one-woman show who hand-pipes and packages every one of Maca’s adorable confections. “I don’t really like to draw; when I doodle, I doodle, like, daisies.” So when the owner of Cha Shu Coffee and Bubble Tea in Malden, where her macarons are on shelves, suggested she pipe a few Pikachus during the peak of last summer’s Pokémon craze, her answer was simple. “I was like, ‘No!'” Chung laughs.
Eventually, she gave in—and thanks to those Squirtles and Eevees, she had her busiest month ever. Now, it’s the characters she’s known for, whether it’s Super Mario Brothers or Winnie the Pooh. People give her so many ideas for new additions that she can’t even keep up with them all.
While her family owns a Chinese restaurant and she grew up with a passion for food, Chung’s business is still young. She only got Maca off the ground with custom orders for friends and family members in 2015, and she started an LLC and secured a shared kitchen space last year. That’s also when she did her first farmers markets—and her first one ever was the Somerville Flea.
“I have a very special love for Somerville to begin with,” she says. “People really accepted and welcomed me into the Somerville community.”
Maca’s kitchens won’t make the move to Bow Market for now. Chung plans to continue baking out of Creative Chef Kitchens in New Hampshire. She’ll also keep taking custom orders for weddings, baby showers and birthday parties, even with the addition of the shop. Eventually, though, she says she’d like to begin making at least some of her batches in Somerville.
And while she might bring one or two people on board to help run the show part time, Chung has no plans to step back from the business. Making macarons is what she loves to do, and she says part of the Bow Market appeal is that it’s almost like a year-round farmers market—an intimate place that will be full of people who are passionate about their craft.
“My favorite part is to meet the customers and talk about my macarons,” she says, adding that part of the fun is watching kids pick our their favorite colors and characters. “I don’t want to lose that. I never want to be so hands-off that you’re not seeing me in the store for at least a couple of hours every day. My favorite part is being there.”