An East Boston event planner known for throwing hyper-cool (and hyper-secret) parties centered around a general celebration of caviar and oysters is opening a market. Alexis Cervasio, founder and proprietor of the much vaunted East Boston Oysters, plans to open EBO & Co. Grocery sometime this July or August, at a yet-to-be-announced address. (See update below.)
“In typical EBO fashion, I am not revealing this just yet,” Cervasio tells Eater via email. “What I will say is that this location was very strategically chosen. It is not in Jeffries Point like many have assumed. I looked for a spot that was walking distance to the Jeffries Point, Eagle Hill, and Border Street/Maverick neighborhoods. I want this store to be the centerpiece of East Boston and accessible to everyone.”
EBO & Co. will stock everyday essentials like milk, eggs, bread, and tampons, as well as caviar, oysters, coffee, cheese, produce, natural wine, home goods, plants, and vinyl records. There will also be a selection of sake curated by O Ya alum Alyssa Mikiko DiPasquale, who now runs the Koji Club, a virtual sake bar pop-up.
Cervasio also says that there will be Keno nights, during which she’ll pop open tins of caviar and serve the briny fish eggs on top of potato chips, a hallmark of her pop-ups.
“Our entire mission is to make things like oysters and caviar more approachable, so I think it will be fun to have some old-timers in there trying caviar for maybe the first time,” she says.
When she moved to Eastie a decade ago, Cervasio says she knew the neighborhood needed this kind of market, but she never figured she’d be the one who’d finally open it.
“The timing feels right personally, and I know that the neighborhood is ready for it,” she says. “We are thirsty over here in East Boston for quality places to shop, dine, and hangout. I am hoping that I can plant this seed, and [that] many more business owners and entrepreneurs will follow. It has always been part of my mission to show people just how great this side of the harbor is, and I am proud to contribute to my neighborhood’s growth.”
Cervasio used the crowdfunding platform NuMarket to help fund the market. She set her goal at $30,000 and reached it in fewer than two days.
“All I can say is: Holy shit! That was a whirlwind of 48 hours. I knew we could do it, I just didn’t know that it was going to happen that fast.”
Anyone who contributed to EBO & Co.’s NuMarket campaign will get their contribution plus 20 percent back to spend as credit at the market once it opens. Payouts will occur monthly over the course of a year.
Since launching East Boston Oysters in 2014, Cervasio has thrown some of the coolest — and most clandestine — parties in and around Boston. Her pop-ups are notorious for their secrecy — guests typically receive an email with the location roughly 24 hours before the event is set to begin and are expected to keep the details strictly confidential — but they are beloved for the vibes (and the caviar and oysters, too).
Past iterations have included guest appearances from celebrated Boston chefs like Alex Saenz (Bisq) and Tony Messina (Uni). There’s always something a bit funky about each pop-up (Keno and bowling, for example), and DJ Ryan Brown (who will source and curate EBO & Co.’s record selection, naturally) always provides a hip soundtrack to the evening.
And as far as the pop-ups go: they’re not going anywhere.
“The popups will definitely continue,” says Cervasio. “You can’t ever forget where you came from.”
Update, December 7, 2021: EBO & Co. Grocery opened this week at 110 Meridian St. in East Boston; it’s currently operating 12 hours a day, every day, stocking oysters, booze, records, and various sundries. Local brands like Buenas and Dumpling Daughter are featured. Watch for updates on hours, products, etc. on Instagram.
• Tastemaking with Alexis Cervasio of East Boston Oysters [BM]
• East Boston Oysters [Official Site]