Nibble, Somerville Arts Council’s culinary arm that supports diversity and entrepreneurship in Union Square, is set to open a kitchen in Bow Market in 2018.
Nibble began with tours of the square’s international markets and developed into an umbrella organization that runs a culinary entrepreneurship program, cooking classes, and pop-up restaurants—all of which focus on the myriad immigrant communities in Union Square.
“Our dream has always been to not be nomadic and have a location where we can do our cooking classes, continue with our entrepreneurship training, but also do regular retail vending to the public in a location that has good foot traffic,” says Rachel Strutt, program manager for the arts council.
The kitchen will join Bow Market, the complex that plans to bring small retailers and restaurants to a former storage building in Union Square, next year as an “anchor tenant” in one of the building’s larger spaces.
“We knew, having eaten our way through Ignite! and attended many of their other events, that Nibble was a perfect partner,” Bow Market developers Zachary Baum and Matthew Boyes-Watson said in a statement. “They provide tremendous resources to local entrepreneurs and support the culinary traditions that are central to Somerville’s identity … We’re thrilled to partner with them on a space that will keep them in the heart of Union Square.”
Strutt says Bow Market felt like a good match for Nibble due to its central location and its startup-friendly setup. She could envision Nibble entrepreneurs graduating from the program and opening their own shops in the complex.
“Their project is a great concept,” Strutt says. “It reflects Union Square in that it is international in focus, I think it’s entrepreneurial in focus, it’s a group of young, artsy, entrepreneurial folks who collectively are going to make a very exciting market experience. So we just felt like Nibble was a good fit because of the ethos of the place and also because of the location.”
The kitchen is slated to open in late spring, according to Strutt. Two-thirds of the roughly 400-square-foot space will be dedicated to a kitchen, while the other one-third will be a flexible space with a pull-down counter.
Strutt had long dreamed about a permanent Nibble kitchen, but a grant from the city made moving forward on the space possible. Governor Charlie Baker’s Office of Housing and Economic Development awarded Nibble a grant of $61,610 through its Collaborative Workspace Program. The City of Somerville will match the grant funding, giving Nibble over $123,000 to work with.
Two other Somerville establishments received grants from the governor’s program. Greentown Labs will put $100,000 toward a wet lab and Artisan’s Asylum got over $57,000 to update its equipment.