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Talk of the Town: Main Streets Market & Cafe in Concord,
Charming restaurant: Main Streets Market & Cafe in Concord.
Article and photos, unless otherwise noted, by Eric Hurwitz. Article
created on 1/28/2018.
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Have you ever
been to a restaurant while on vacation that eventually
becomes a main part of your travel memories year after year -- a place
that seems as personally meaningful and satisfying as the area
In Concord, The Main Streets Market & Cafe is that place by
offering wonderful food, drink and conversations at its historic
location in the heart of downtown Concord, Mass. Concord, best known
for its major role in the American Revolution and as a literary mecca
for all those brilliant writers like Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne, and
Alcott, stands as one of New England's most prettiest, quaint towns.
With famous destinations like Walden Pond, the Concord Museum, Old
North Bridge and five more miles of Revolutionary War history sites and
attractions within the Minuteman National Historic Park's magnificent Battle Road
Trail which it shares with Lexington, Concord is definitely an "A" list
New England destination.
Old North Bridge, Concord.
Surprisingly, Concord, as a major tourist destination, has a shortage
of restaurants that caters to all
walks of life -- that is, a "local," independently-owned dining spot
with a big menu and quality food at reasonable prices. The
dining out trend has either gone toward the upscale or chains when it
seems like most people would be satisfied with options ranging from
pancakes and burgers to pot roast and Atlantic salmon.
The Main Streets Market & Cafe solves that problem, coming across
like the restaurant version of a boxed set greatest hits collection by
offering so much under one roof. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner
and also offer a variety of regular coffees, special blends, espresso
and lattes, a bakery, full bar with 12 beers on tap (almost all craft
beers are from New England) and great wine menu, live music at night
and a separate ice cream and burrito bar.
It's really good fare done right as they source locally whenever
possible -- fruits and vegetables are grown at their family farm right
down the road in Concord -- while making virtually all baked goods in
Red velvet cupcakes at the Main Streets Market & Cafe.
The historic brick building with the cozy interior featuring
handsome wood floors, brick walls and a bar top from the original
Garden makes the experience all that more appealing and inviting -- the
exact type of dining spot one would expect to find in colonial
Concord. Also, there are two retail treasures upstairs owned by
hard-working businesswomen: Nesting showcasing antiques and collectibles, and
Muses Window with "made in the USA" handcrafted items.
Additionally, the side of the building at the charming alleyway (the
original dining area before
the Main Street storefront opened as a restaurant in the early 2000s)
features wooden benches, flower beds and a perfectly imperfect walkway
framed by historic wooden and brick buildings. The alleyway feels like
a peaceful oasis from busy Main St. and offers "sides" that wonderfully
complement its dining room and bar around the corner by offering a
smaller dining area for burritos, pizza, hot dogs, sandwiches,
smoothies and ice cream. Benches, tables, a picnic area and a sunny
indoor porch dining room by the scenic Milbrook make for a truly
pleasant dining experience.
The alleyway at Main Streets Market & Cafe.
We have all heard a phrase that goes something to the effect of "Go
where the locals go." Well, this is where the locals go and that should
be a cue to visitors in town. Husband and wife and owners Dave and
Karen Anderson have deep ties to the town,
which fosters many meaningful relationships between them and townsfolk.
From knitting and bicycle groups to townies and tourists, it's like an
unofficial community meeting place at the Main Streets Market &
"The tourists are so cool, but what's most exciting to see are the
multi generations here," said Karen. "You have people in their 80s that
talk about how they came here as kids. Some of the stories they tell!"
Dave and Karen Anderson, owners of Main Streets Market &
Those stories told, the general conversations and the familiar faces
comprise a scene that looks like something out of a movie set in a
picture-perfect small town. It's the ultimate Main Street tavern
atmosphere, but not the kind with worn rugs, pool tables and Skynyrd
playing on the jukebox. It's more of a classic, colonial tavern
atmosphere where one could picture spirited folk raising a beer for a
toast and a few hearty laughs over some really good grub. The
real-life, daily scenes are often priceless and offer hope that family
and overall community can still come together in the 21st century
without depending on a chain store or restaurant, or relying on cell
phones and lap tops to have a good time.
The bar top at the Main Streets Market & Cafe is from the
old Boston Garden.
Speaking of cell phone and laptops, Dave and Karen discourage
such use and have set a policy for customers to refrain from being
tethered to technology. In fact, it's written on the walls!
Cell phone and lap top use is discouraged at the Main Streets Market
"We had one lady who got very upset and started yelling and throwing
her food in the trash," said Karen, about the cell phone and laptop
policy. "She settled down eventually. But most people are good about
it. We try to create an atmosphere where people converse. We want
people to talk with people, not technology."
"We like to say, 'No laptops or cellphones -- restaurant in use,'" said
Dave, with a smile. "We do prioritize live conversation as we are more
of a traditional 'publick' house or tavern type of place. We do try to
accommodate everyone, however, so we will have a designated area for
cell phones and laptops, but it will be isolated."
Conversations have been going on for many generations at this location
for more than 100 years. Dave and Karen are the fourth generation of
the Anderson family to own the building as a food destination. A fifth
and sixth generation can also be seen working at the restaurant. Two
of Dave's sisters, Beverly and Janice, are long-time employees at the
"It's amazing to have from the same address, the same doors for a food
business that has run without interruption since the early 1900s," said
The location took on legendary local status for the first three
generations as Anderson's Market, but actually possesses even more
history than its run as a place for food. The original building dates
back to colonial days housing a gristmill storing ammunition during the
Reolutionary War, and later,
a hatter's shop, a watch and clock repair shop, a milliner, tinsmith,
a barber and others, according to an article on the Concord Free Public Library web site. Toward the
end of the 19th century, the property became a grocery store. Norwegian
immigrant Lars Anderson bought the store in 1913 and had significant
upgrades made to this cornerstone store in the 1930s.
"It's a destination," said Dave, a descendant of one of the first 13
families to settle in Concord. "We are a piece of history in Concord."
The building has been marvelously maintained and upgraded, proudly
showcasing its beautiful template without much compromise...
A rendition from yesteryear...
Photo source: Concord Free Public Library web site.
And today with the Main Streets Market and Cafe operating its expanded
Main Street restaurant since the early 2000s...
Revolutionary War reenactment in front of Main Streets Market
& Cafe. Photo source: Main Streets Market & Cafe Facebook fan
It's also a fabulous place to reflect on things while looking out the
onto the pulse of vibrant Main St....
Window table at Main Streets Market & Cafe.
The food could stand on its own to draw customers. Staples like
paninis, beef chili with roasted butternut squash (unique and
delicious!), the Concord Tomato Pesto sandwich that includes fresh
mozzarella on Ciabatta bread, and the Turkey/Cranberry Wrap with house
roasted turkey, cornbread stuffing, baby spinach, orange cranberry
sauce and mayo remain just as popular as when the restaurant first
Turkey/Cranberry Wrap from Main Streets Market & Cafe.
As expected, the Main Streets Market & Cafe serves many "Yankee
or local dishes like pot roast, various stews, New England clam
chowder, New England-style crab cakes, fried calamari, lobster rolls,
lobster grilled cheese, fish and chips and a fried clam roll, while
also covering more universal favorites like mac and cheese, burgers,
flatbread pizza, onion rings and fresh salads (the produce is superb
coming from the Anderson's farm).
Fried clam roll, fries and ice cold beer from Main Streets
Market & Cafe. Photo source: Main Streets Market & Cafe
Facebook fan page.
Upscale dishes and trending favorites are offered, too, like Thai
chicken lettuce wraps, noodle bowls, acai sorbet bowls, Avocado toast
mashed over toasted wheatberry with sliced tomato, two sunnyside eggs,
crumbled feta cheese, fresh pea shoots, cilantro and pumpkin.
Avocado toast from Main Streets Market & Cafe. Photo
source: Main Streets Market & Cafe Facebook fan page.
The music scene taps into local talent and adds another dimension to
the Cafe, according to Karen.
"People love to play here," said Karen. "They really love to be here.
The musicians say it is their favorite place to play... And women who
are single can come in here to listen to some music and feel safe."
How nice to have a go-to, Main Street restaurant appealing to all ages
operated by on site owners. As the sixth generation of family gets
to further help this likable mom and pop business, the hope is that the
Streets Market and Cafe continues to evolve in a big-box chain world.
Concord has done an admirable job in keeping the downtown run mostly by
independent businesses. As 17-year-old Connecticut resident Abigail
Dustin stated so well in a letter to the Concord Planning Board: "All I
know is that Concord is a wonderful place that has managed to stay away
from the craze of most chain stores that have taken up residence in so
many local towns, and, for this reason, it is beautiful and unique."
No doubt that the Main Streets Market and Cafe is part of that fabric
that makes Concord so special. The good news is that this tavern of
sorts, packs in the crowds at any given time of the day. May that grand
tradition thrive in regards to serving food to locals and travelers
alike, who create Concord memories here every day!
Delightful, welcoming storefront: Main Streets Market & Cafe.
Main Streets Market and Cafe is
located at 42 Main St. in Concord MA. Tel. (866) 413-3981 or (978)
369-9948. Web site: http://www.mainstreetsmarketandcafe.com. Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/mainstreetscafe/?ref=br_rs.
Twitter page: https://twitter.com/mainstreetscafe. Main Streets Cafe Virtual Tour: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=8Hn5SvFHBCp
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