Local Sprouts is excited to share an interview with Elyse Andrews of The Somerville Beat. Not only are Elyse and The Beat dedicated to living and loving all things local, she is also a dear friend & neighbour of LS curator Katie’s favorite sister Meghan. Read on & get to know what local means in Somerville, MA in the good ol’ USA!
LS: Who are you? What makes you tick? Any special details Local Sprouts readers should know about you?
EA: In my decade-long career as a writer and editor, I’ve worked at publications large and small and now I’m applying everything I learned to my own venture, The Somerville Beat. I wanted to find a way to combine my passion for writing with my love for my city, thus the Beat was born. When I’m not working on it, I love running, reading, traveling, cooking, snowboarding and being outdoors. I enjoy many of these adventures with my wonderful husband, who is also my best friend and technical adviser. We’ve been living, loving and growing together since we met as undergrads at our college newspaper (where I was his boss).
LS: Where is your local community/neighbourhood and what do you love about it/how could you describe it?
EA: I live in Somerville, Mass., which is just north of Boston. I’ve lived here for five years and couldn’t imagine residing anywhere else now. Somerville has changed a lot in the last several decades and in just the last few years. It’s a diverse city with people of all creeds, religions, origins, ages, etc. We’re a big melting pot and I love it.
Right now, the city is alive in the culinary and creativity fields. Young people have flocked here in droves and I’m so proud to be a part of such a cool place. We’ve got so many wonderful restaurants, farmers markets and local businesses all working to make this great city even better.
LS: If you were showing someone from out of town around your local area, where would you take them?
EA: This is a tough one–I love so many places! I’d definitely take them to all my favorite spots: Highland Kitchen for a delicious meal in a fun atmosphere then to Backbar for a top-notch cocktail. I’d take them to 3 Little Figs for a breakfast of local Greek yogurt with fruit and house made granola. And to Bloc 11 for a lunch of fresh sandwiches, soups and salads that we can enjoy in an old bank vault or outside on the patio.
As I mentioned, I love running, so I’d take them around some of my favorite running (and walking) routes, as I believe those are the best ways to see the city. We’d probably also bike around town a lot, as that is my preferred mode of transportation when traveling locally.
I’d also take them to see a movie at the charming Somerville Theatre and then to the Museum of Bad Art in the basement. If it was a weekend, we’d go to the farmers market, which we’re lucky to have year-round.
LS: What does ‘local’ mean to you/your work/your family?
EA: Shopping local is very important to both myself and my husband. He owns a small business in Boston and does work with many other local entities, such as the many universities and publishers in our city. I run a local website, so I think about local all day, every day.
I’d much rather support the shop around the corner, the farmer down the road or the craftsperson in town than buy from a national/international company. I love knowing money is going back into our community to support the things that are important to us and make it so vibrant.
LS: Hidden local gem?
EA: True Bistro in Teele Square is an incredibly delicious and beautiful vegan restaurant that I absolutely love. Many people don’t know about it or are skeptical, but it’s a wonderful restaurant and the owners are very supportive of the local community/economy.
LS: Local person, cultural or food experience Local Sprouts should seek out?
EA: There’s so much happening in Somerville right now, it’s difficult to choose! I seek out amazing local experiences all day every day, so I’d say just check out what’s happening on the Beat. The culinary and creative communities in Somerville are blossoming and it’s so wonderful to watch.