One of the highlights of Monday night's Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting (held at Athenian, by the way, which was a great venue) was hearing from Janette and Robert Nason, who are about to open the Market Street Market at 95 Market Street by the first of March.
Like you, I'm *rooting* for this or any other business that opens in downtown, and especially for one that's opening across the street from my lovely abode.
But rooting sometimes only goes so far. If someone downtown is opening something I can already *get* somewhere else -- a hair or nail salon, an Irish-themed bar, or a convenience store that sells what's already at CVS for a markup, I would still wish them the best, but in the end I'd really just be wishing.
So here's why I'm excited about Market Street Market -- the *big idea* they're putting forward is something a little bit different from anything else in the immediate vicinity. It's essentially a food-focused market -- bread, fruits, vegetables, meals-to-go, etc. that offers you the convenience of being right near Canal Place, the Roy Garage, Merrimack Street, Central Street, etc. In other words, it's a great spot to go in and grab something to nosh on or quickly prepare, but it's offering you *actual* food, unlike the convenience store on the other side of Market Street. Its shelves will be primarily filled with food and drink (and, I'm told, the chance to pick up a rare print copy of the New York Times)...but the fact that it'll be filled with enough stuff for me to stock my fridge and shelves separates it from, say, C'est. Sandwiches and coffee/tea bring a little bit of overlap with Olive That and Brew'd Awakening, but at the end of the day, I would stress the word overlap -- Market Street Market isn't trying to be a sandwich shop or a coffee bar. Besides, extra foot traffic in the area might be a boon for either of those places, anyway.
I can still remember the very first conversation I ever had in Lowell with the very first person I ever met in Lowell (Brandon Clark, two summers ago). Among the many topics that came up, and which ultimately helped inspire me to move here, one of the definite needs he expressed was that for some type of downtown grocery store (at the time, we were at Brew'd and he had some kind of a Let's-Get-Trader-Joe's-type of petition).
While we're still talking needs (and to square the circle from Monday's meeting, where the perennial 'how can we bring the college kids downtown?' question came up), I think downtown is still hurting for entertainment. Personally, I'd love to see a comedy club (and Kad Barma, thanks for mentioning the comedy at the Brew on Saturday night, I'm there with the family) but I'm sure there are other creative ways that the under-21 crowd could find a way to have fun.
As for Bad Dawgs, it's definitely sad to see the loss. I always appreciated their weekend hours, which I know have come in handy more than once after everything else was closed.