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Shirley, Opening in Somerville This Summer, Wants Everyone to ‘Eat More Sunshine’

Shirley — which highlights local ingredients in sandwiches, baked goods, and more — will soon close its Bow Market pop-up and open a permanent space in Davis Square

A grilled cheese sandwich on thick artisanal bread sits on brown paper on an outdoor table in a sunny open market space.
Bacon grilled cheese and iced maple mocha from Shirley’s pop-up at Bow Market in Somerville.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Shirley — a farm-to-table pop-up that’s been serving locally sourced ingredients on freshly baked bread, among other goodies, at Somerville’s Bow Market since fall 2021 — will soon leave the market and put down permanent roots elsewhere in Somerville.

July 31, 2022, will be the pop-up’s final day at Bow, Shirley founder and chef Kat Bayle tells Eater, and she hopes to open her new storefront around mid-August at 22A College Avenue in Davis Square. The cozy space is currently home to the oatmeal-focused cafe Oat Shop, which opened five and a half years ago and recently announced that it will close around late July, citing “various challenges over the past couple of years including rising costs.”

Bayle says that the new location will “build on the Shirley concept of showcasing local ingredients sourced thoughtfully” via a menu that is always changing and evolving. It’ll mainly feature sandwiches, baked goods, and “fun drinks,” with “all the magic” made in-house, including breads. (Bayle is particularly enthusiastic about naturally leavened breads and fermentation.) There will be vegetarian and vegan options available, and the entire restaurant will be nut-free.

Diners might see sandwiches like a lemongrass meatball banh mi made with local beef and spices, herby aioli, and spicy pickles, says Bayle, or a brie-style sandwich with Camembert from New Hampshire’s Bell & Goose Cheese Co. paired with “seasonal deliciousness” like rhubarb jam and salad greens, served on maple olive oil brioche.

For baked goods, watch for options like jam pocket corn muffins made with locally grown cornmeal freshly milled by Cambridge’s Elmendorf Baking Supplies and stuffed with seasonal fruit jam, or scones in flavors like strawberry maple.

The drink list will feature coffee from Broadsheet Coffee Roasters in Cambridge; an iced minty maple mocha, for example, will feature Broadsheet coffee flavored with oat milk and Shirley’s own syrups. There will be tea options, too, like the lemon lovers sweet tea, made with locally grown lemongrass, lemon balm, and ginger, sweetened with maple.

Shirley has recently debuted the new tagline “eat more sunshine,” says Bayle, with sunshine referring to “that quality beyond the five tastes (sweet, bitter, etc.). It describes a vibrancy, freshness, joyfulness, delightfulness that some ingredients impart.” Those ingredients, Bayle says, are most likely to be grown or made locally, organically, and sustainably by small business owners.

“Shirley is devoted to bringing more sunshine and supporting the efforts of fellow sunshine producers,” she says.

Fans of Shirley can catch it in its pop-up form at Bow Market for a couple more weeks before the transition to Davis Square; it’s currently open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, plus special themed events on Thursday nights. July 14 and 28, for example, are banh mi nights, featuring 100% local ingredients, including New England-grown lemongrass and Martha’s Vineyard shiitakes. The evening of July 21 is a ricotta toast collaboration with (mostly) pasta pop-up Mostly Pasta, which makes its own ricotta.

Shirley is one of several Bow Market pop-ups to eventually move on to bigger, permanent spaces. Korean bibimbap shop Perillas, which had two long-term stints at the market, now has its own space in Allston-Brighton with an expanded menu, as well as an outpost at Boston Public Market, and vegan Egyptian food business Koshari Mama graduated from Bow into a permanent space a bit down the road on Somerville Avenue. Plus, empanadas-and-more shop Buenas, one of Bow Market’s founding tenants, remains in business at the market but will soon have a sibling at the Speedway in Brighton called Super Bien — a South American wine bar and grocery store that will feature Buenas products as the house brand, both for retail and in prepared food items.

Keep an eye on Shirley’s Instagram account for updates during its final weeks at Bow (online ordering is available) and, soon after, its debut in Davis Square.

When Shirley opens at 22A College Avenue, Somerville, later this summer, it will operate Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with mornings (until 11 a.m.) devoted to baked goods and drinks and a sandwich focus for the rest of the day.

Oat Shop

22A College Ave., Somerville, MA 02144 Visit Website

Bow Market

1 Bow Market Way, , MA 02143 Visit Website

Shirley

22A College Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144 Visit Website

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