Somerville’s Union Square is a home for showcasing culinary talent, from the up-and-coming chefs that rotate through Bow Market to nearby crowd-favorites like cocktail hotspot Backbar, ice cream shop Honeycomb Creamery, and beloved, award-winning restaurant Juliet. Union Square fixtures Andrew Brady and Sara Markey, the co-owners behind date night favorite Field & Vine, are now adding another restaurant to the mix. The pair has taken over a former Union Square pizza shop that closed earlier this year, T&B Pizza, and transformed it into the casual weeknight hangout June Bug, which just opened at 251 Washington Street.
Brady, who is also a co-owner of the acclaimed wine bar Dear Annie, is known for working with ingredients that spotlight New England seasonality at Field & Vine. He takes a similar approach at June Bug: Find zingy seafood plates here like a fluke and scallop tartare with sunflower greens, sunchoke chips, pear, celery root, and a Tamari aioli, alongside fun vegetable preparations like the kale salad, which sees the crunchy greens tossed with a swordfish tonnato, capers, fennel, crunchy garlic, and nutritional yeast.
But the star of the show at June Bug is the wood-fired pizza oven that Brady and Markey inherited from T&B. From that powerhouse oven, the team is hauling out blistered, Neapolitan-style pizzas that run the gamut from the almost-familiar like Shuggie’s, with tomato, mozzarella, pecorino, and basil shug (a bright, herby hot sauce originating from Yemen), to more quirky combinations like the Chimney Sweep, which features a spazza di camino cheese (named after an Italian town famous for its chimney sweeps), spoonfuls of pine nut agrodolce, and “as much spinach as we can [put] on it,” Brady says.
The bar is stocked with natural wines, New England beers including Vermont’s Foam Brewers and Remnant Brewing in Bow Market, and a handful of classic cocktails to start. June Bug’s full liquor license is a first for the team, which only operates with a beer and wine license at Field & Vine.
The space itself, designed largely by Brady and Markey, is marked by a cheeky blend of bright pinks, greens, and yellows that intentionally set June Bug apart from Field & Vine’s more hushed, neutral tones. “I was kind of excited to get to play with more color,” Markey says.
June Bug is located just a few steps from Field & Vine, and Brady and Markey are working with the same landlord for both spaces. The pair say they were interested in taking over the space around the corner because they want to keep promoting small business growth in the area. With a shiny new high-rise looming in the background of Washington Street, and more real estate development on the way, the independent operators felt strongly about re-investing in the area. “We’ve been working in this neighborhood for 10 years now,” Brady says. “We just don’t want to see small businesses kind of disappear.”