Star Cambridge bakery La Saison has shut down its Time Out Market outpost in Fenway after just a few months of operation, putting an abrupt end to the anticipated Boston expansion of the lauded bakery.
La Saison first launched at the food hall in May and closed up shop by early September, according to bakery co-owner Sarah Moridpour. There were “a couple reasons” contributing to the closure, Moridpour said in an email, but low sales were the main factor.
“Our sales number never got close to what is expected as a minimum during the time we were there,” Moridpour said. “People were nice but the location and the crowd were not what we expected considering our working hours as a bakery.”
The market currently has 12 vendors operating in the space, and only a couple — Say Coffee, from the Phinista team, and an outpost of local doughnut chain Union Square Donuts — open before 11 a.m.
La Saison wasn’t the only spot that closed up shop at the food hall within a matter of months this year. Source, a pizza hot spot in Cambridge, launched at Time Out Market in March and was out by September, according to Boston Restaurant Talk.
Time Out Market first launched during the summer of 2019 with a focus on bringing in buzzy hometown names like Back Bay seafood spot Saltie Girl and the acclaimed Somerville restaurant Tasting Counter. Some of the opening lineup, like Mrs. Cluck’s and Gogo Ya, both from the team behind O Ya and Hojoko, have stayed put, but others, including Saltie Girl and Tasting Counter, have since departed the food hall.
According to Time Out Market, the change-ups in vendors are a regular part of doing business at the food hall. “Bringing the best of the city together under one roof is at the heart of everything we do,” the company said in a statement. “Part of that is to keep our offerings fresh for our customers, reflecting new tastes of the city, and giving hand-picked local culinary talent the opportunity to work in a market environment, experiment with new concepts, new menu items, seasonal ideas or pop-ups — whether that’s for a shorter or a longer period of time.”
The pandemic has also created challenges for the food hall, just as it has for restaurants across the city. “Since our reopening when pandemic restrictions were lifted last year, we have focused on restoring our curation, working closely with our vendors who, like us, have had to kick start their operations once again,” the company said. “With all the excitement that comes with it, there are also challenges, such as finding team members to open and run a Market concept.”
Looking ahead, two more vendors will be launching in the food hall in the new year: Lala’s Neapolitan-ish Pizza, a mobile pizza oven opening its first brick-and-mortar spot in the market on January 18, and Squeeze Juice Company, a smoothie and juice chain opening later in the winter.
“All of our vendors — past and present — are among the best the city has to offer; all are and have been fantastic additions,” Time Out Market said in a statement. “Now, we are excited to welcome Lala’s to the Market and give this outstanding team the opportunity to open their first brick-and-mortar location with us, amongst the best of the city.”