The team behind Buenas, the empanadas-and-more shop at Somerville’s Bow Market, is expanding to another outdoor marketplace this summer, opening a wine bar and grocery shop (a “grocerybar,” says owner Melissa Stefanini) called Super Bien at the forthcoming Speedway in Brighton. It will feature South American wines and dishes made with Buenas’s own products, which are South America-inspired (and go beyond the empanadas for which the shop is best known).
“It’s like if Goya were cool enough to open a bar,” Stefanini tells Eater. “The point is to feel like you’re at your friend’s house — the coolest friend you know, or someone you made friends with while studying abroad — and you’re at their house, and for some reason you could buy all this stuff on their shelves.”
Stefanini says that Super Bien (whose opening won’t impact the existence of the original spot at Bow) feels like “a natural progression” of what the team was initially trying to do in their tiny Somerville storefront. “It’s going to let us tell a broader story, the Buenas story, [showcasing] everything you could do with our products.” Where the Bow Market space has become known as a grab-and-go empanada shop, Buenas does offer a larger range of South America-inspired goods, including sauces like the herb-packed chimichurri and pebre, a spicy Chilean condiment.
The new storefront, which is about triple the size of the old one, will allow the team to sell all their products, as well as dishes made with them. There could be meatballs made with empanada dough breadcrumbs, for example; ceviche with pebre; and pasta salad with chimichurri.
“What makes the new place different than the other grocery stores opening is that Buenas is the house brand,” says Stefanini. “You’re getting our full product line in ways you don’t expect.”
Buenas has also been known for collaborations with other local food businesses, and that will continue at Super Bien. Yes, there will be flan from La Flaneteria.
Super Bien will provide the team with more of an opportunity to test which of their products would work well in wholesale, especially delving more into dry goods like the herb blend that goes into Buenas’s chimichurri. Stefanini notes that they already work out of their own production kitchen in Everett, which is what allowed Buenas to survive the past year. Customers only see the 165-square-foot storefront at Bow Market, but Buenas does a lot of wholesale business, selling to breweries and elsewhere. Buenas is “like a [consumer packaged goods] company with the soul of a restaurant,” says Stefanini.
In addition to South American wines and Buenas products and dishes, Super Bien will have cordials, so there could be drinks like fernet and Coke. Plus, there might be some housewares from other people. “I’m not going to start making cutting boards or knitting kitchen towels anytime soon,” Stefanini jokes, but the store might carry, for example, kitchen towels from frequent Buenas collaborator Project Paulie, with money going towards local community fridges.
Super Bien customers will be able to eat onsite — there will be a bit of indoor seating at the shop, as well as outdoor seating in Speedway’s general courtyard — or grab food from a window and head over to Notch Brewing’s beer garden. There will also be plenty of grab-and-go, deli-style containers, which should please the folks working in the office spaces that will be part of the Speedway.
When the Speedway opens later this year, Super Bien will join a lineup of other local food, beverage, and retail shops, including the aforementioned Notch location; a sake bar, the Koji Club, from O Ya alum Alyssa Mikiko DiPasquale; a new location of Somerville ice cream shop Tipping Cow; a hummus-focused restaurant from chef Avi Shemtov of the Chubby Chickpea, Simcha, and A La Esh; and more.