Event preview: Surprising pop-up restaurants spice up Moonlight Market

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From the April 10, 2014 edition

After prudently taking the last three frigid months off, the Moonlight Market is returning with renewed purpose and passion on Saturday, April 12. If you’re not familiar with the Moonlight Market, its name might suggest some sort of shady or bootlegger operation at first, but of course it’s not.

Actually, MM is a fairly inspired, (mostly) open-air, and later-in-the-day shopping affair designed to lure consumers Downtown to Gay Street for the purpose of perusing dozens of style-forward indie businesses. These companies — some are brick-and-mortar, others are mobile (think store versions of food trucks) — range from restaurants to mod clothiers to whiskey barrel repurposers. Already penciled-in participants include: The Flying Gent, Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails, The Plantain Cafe, The Boutique Truck and Red Giraffe Designs.

But wait, there’s more. See, this entertainment-enhanced evening shopping party — it happens every second Saturday from April through December — is kicking off a more ambitious second year by shaping the night into an even more “snooze-and-you-lose” EVENT. Pop-up restaurants are playing a large part in this.

In other words, now attendees will not only be cruising for suits and purses, but they’ll also be eating, and no-doubt Tweeting and Instagramming about, stuff only they are privy to. Witness Cafe Brioso, who have agreed to stay open late and host “Tonight Only” pop-ups every month.

Kicking off Brioso’s one-and-done food programming this Saturday is Dan the Baker. Known for its beautiful breads, DtB will instead be featuring “a selection of seasonally inspired pizzas made from top-quality and local ingredients baked on the stone hearth of [its] Italian deck oven.” Plans are to serve from 6-9 p.m. or “until we sell out.”

Look for other cooking all-stars to grace Brioso’s halls in future months. One to keep a wide eye open for is the already confirmed and perfectly named Destination Donuts, who will be pairing its unique and always delicious pastries with Brioso’s in-store-roasted coffees.

Another announced pop-up is Il Mercato. Signed up for every MM this year, Il Mercato (“the market” in Italian) is Due Amici’s sorta retail outreach, and plans are to sell (from Due’s patio and/or inside its private event space) homemade charcuterie along with imported Italian groceries and wine.

See you at the market.