Growth continues in Somerville as two local restaurateurs prepare to expand their hold on Union Square: The wife-and-husband team of Bronwyn and Tim Wiechmann will open a new restaurant a couple doors down from their existing one, leaning into a casual, relaxed style of dining. T and B Pizza will operate in the same building that’s currently home to Bronwyn (255 Washington St.), the duo’s nearly six-year-old German and Central European restaurant and bar.
The Wiechmanns have taken over a former convenience store space at 251 Washington St. and will begin construction soon with a goal of opening T and B Pizza in May or June this year. The restaurant will focus on wood-fired pizzas and cocktails.
“We really wanted to do something that kind of blended in,” Tim Wiechmann said. “We all went to A4 many years ago and it was just so great.”
A4 Pizza closed in 2015 after two years on Somerville Avenue, following long-term electrical issues plaguing the building in which it was located, leaving Union Square without its popular late-night pizza-and-bar hangout. (The neighborhood does have a few other pizza options, including Mama Gina’s, the vegetarian Veggie Crust in the former A4 space, the recently opened Hot Box at Bow Market, and more, although each has its own niche distinct from the role A4 played in the neighborhood.)
While the Wiechmanns have secured the space for T and B Pizza, they’re waiting on building permits to start construction. In the meantime, Tim Wiechmann will finalize his plan for the food.
“It’s gonna be a very tight, limited menu,” he said. “I’m currently in my dough-testing mode. Several times a week I’m basically practicing, as if I were an athlete or something.”
Wiechmann won’t commit T and B to making a certain regional style of pizza; instead, he’ll leave room for creativity and experimentation. The new restaurant will not have a gas hook-up, so everything will be wood-fired.
“I love to bake and there’s always a bread component in all my restaurants. This will have an organic, earthy feel to that part of it, but on the top it’ll definitely be creative chef Tim-type toppings,” Tim Wiechmann said. Some pizzas may even be topped with his own house-made sausage (for which Bronwyn is partially known).
T and B Pizza will have around 50 seats — a Goldilocks number, of sorts, even without the coveted outdoor seating of Bronwyn. Tim Wiechmann expects the restaurant to be a fitting addition to the building, which also includes other dining and drinking destinations in addition to Bronwyn: Backbar, Field & Vine, and Casa B, plus Cantina La Mexicana in an adjacent building.
“The building will be a really great artistic culinary center,“ he said. As an added bonus, it will take a load off the Wiechmanns to build out a space that’s right by their current operation.
“Absolutely one of the reasons we want to do this one is we’re not a really large corporation, and we are hands-on owners,” he said. “My wife likes to be in her restaurant, and she likes to talk to people.”
The Wiechmanns have made several shifts in their focus over the last few years. After briefly operating Balkan-inspired sandwich shop Playska in Inman Square, the duo remade their long-acclaimed T.W. Food into Self Portrait before closing the operation altogether, initially with plans to open a second Bronwyn somewhere in the area. Those plans have since changed, and the Wiechmanns will continue running just the one Bronwyn while they work on bringing T and B Pizza to life steps away.
“The big change was really letting go of being a fine-dining chef,” Tim Wiechmann said. “A fine-dining chef needs to be driven to open every day by himself or herself and really care about curating many, many ingredients all the time, every day.” He was able to do that at a great restaurant for 10 years, he said, but was ultimately ready to do something else.
“This just came up, and it supports our other business,” Tim Wiechmann said. “It’s also fun to build the bar and fun to have specials and just be more casual as an expression.”
Plus, the prices will make the restaurant accessible all throughout the week, he said.
“It did come out of the blue, but it was like, ‘let’s do something different for us,’ and it fits.”