The teams behind crowd-favorite wine bar Rebel Rebel and sunny Roxbury spot Dudley Cafe are making expansion moves — and they’re turning to crowdfunding to finance their plans.
Lauren Friel, the sommelier and owner behind two spots in Somerville’s Bow Market — Rebel Rebel and its upstairs sibling, book store and event space Wild Child — is planning to move Wild Child out of Bow Market and into a Victorian-designed retail shop located just outside of the market. In the new, larger space, Wild Child will expand into a full bottle shop and be able to host more events, according to a rep for the shop.
Across the city, the nearly decade-old Dudley Cafe in Roxbury has announced plans to expand to Cambridge at 1663 Massachusetts Avenue, at the corner of Wendell Street, between Harvard Square and Porter Square. The cafe, run by co-owners Rokeya and Solmon Chowdhury, is a popular daytime restaurant and community space known for its well-executed breakfast and lunch menu, including rice bowls, salads, and an outstanding breakfast sandwich.
In both cases, the owners are underwriting the new projects by crowdfunding. Friel, who is also a co-owner of the chart-topping wine bar Dear Annie, is raising $50,000 to help defray the cost of a $150,000 liquor license for Wild Child’s new shop. The Chowdhurys are raising $35,000 to help open their Cambridge location. For both campaigns, funders receive credits toward future purchases at the businesses when they open.
The crowdfunding campaigns are hosted by NuMarket, a Boston-based platform that many local restaurants and retail shops have tapped to help raise funds for their businesses, including dumpling destination Mei Mei and the Mushroom Shop in Somerville. Earlier this year, veteran bartender Will Isaza, who helps run high-profile bars including Blossom Bar in Brookline and Birds of Paradise in Brighton, launched a crowdfunding campaign on NuMarket to fund his first solo project, a coffee bar in East Boston. For some, crowdfunding is a more attractive alternative to taking on outside investors because the owners can raise money while maintaining control over the business, as Isaza told Eater in February.
Wild Child’s fundraising campaign is live for the next three weeks; while Dudley Cafe’s just-launched campaign is open for the next month.