June Bug Opens in Somerville with Wood-Fired Pizza and “Fun”

The team behind acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant Field & Vine gets a little playful at a new spot in Union Square.

Overhead view of two pizzas with some slices taken out and spread across a bright yellow-green table with glasses of wine.

Pizzas and more at June Bug. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

When talking to Andrew Brady and Sara Markey about their new restaurant, June Bug, which opened last month in Somerville’s Union Square, one word comes up repeatedly: “fun.” The pizza-focused spot, which they’re describing as a “neighborhood wood-fired restaurant,” is fun, starting from the moment you walk in the door and spot a nostalgic lava lamp and the interior’s bright color scheme with pinks, greens, and yellows. Brady and Markey are also behind the award-winning, farm-to-table stunner Field & Vine, located around the corner in the same building. While Field & Vine is beautiful and romantic, with more of a special-occasion gravitas, June Bug is whimsical and energetic. “I hope people view this as more of an any-night kind of spot,” says Markey. “The lights might be a little lower, the music might be a little louder—sit at the bar, come for a date night.”

A restaurant dining room features polka dot pillows on a green bench with a pink patterned cushion.

The front dining area at June Bug. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Little details contribute to the vibe, from the polka-dotted tabletops to the decorative light switch covers (one features puffy clouds on a sky-blue background) to the neon pizza slice behind the giant wood-fired oven. (The oven is a holdover from the previous restaurant in this space, T&B Pizza, sibling to German restaurant and beer bar Bronwyn next door.) But the pizza itself drives the theme home with quirky names and toppings. For example, there’s the Like a Pepperoni pizza with ’nduja, marjoram, and, as the menu puts it, “lots of onions,” or the Shuggie’s pizza, which spices up a classic tomato, mozzarella, and pecorino combo with basil schug, an herby hot sauce with Yemeni origins.

A white pizza with greens and a lemon wedge sits on a striped cloth next to a glass and bottle of wine.

Pizza at June Bug. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

“For the toppings, we’re just trying to have fun,” says Brady—there’s that word ‘fun’ again—“with some plays on traditional styles. Our Like a Pepperoni is influenced by pepperoni pizza, but certainly not a pepperoni pizza. Our Shuggie’s is influenced by a margherita but certainly not a margherita.” And, unsurprising from the team behind Field & Vine, known for its careful sourcing of local and seasonal ingredients, there’s plenty of room for seasonality on the pizza menu, with ever-changing pies featuring the vegetables of the moment. For example, in the fall, you might spot a squash pizza with a spicy local Calabrian-style sausage and Rush Creek cheese, a coveted dairy product only available for a couple months a year.

Four slices of raw tuna with herbs and condiments sit in a white bowl with blue dots on a white table with colorful dots and a lavender napkin.

June Bug’s bluefin tuna crudo with preserved tomato, habañero relish, and pepperoni pecans. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

While the pizzas at June Bug feels playful, there’s serious research and development behind these wood-fired winners, which are made with a sourdough starter, a two-day ferment, and “as many local flours” as possible, says Brady, including fresh-milled flours from Elmendorf Baking Supplies in Cambridge. The team “ate a bit and read a lot,” along with testing a wide variety of styles, doughs, mixing times, and other variables, while preparing to open.

A pink and purple lava lamp sits on a counter atop a striped cloth.

A lava lamp at June Bug. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

One thing important to the team when deciding on pizza style: It should be light. “Nothing too much,” says Brady. “Not too much cheese, not too much sauce. Someone can eat one and not be like, ughhhh.” The idea is that you’ll be able to sample a pizza or two while also enjoying the salads, crudos, and other items on the menu.

As for those other items, there’ll always be at least a couple raw or cured fish dishes available, says Brady, “because we just love eating that way.” On the opening menu, that includes a fluke and bay scallop tartare with sunchoke chips, tamari aioli, and other “very autumnal” ingredients, and a bluefin tuna crudo with pecans spiced in the style of pepperoni. “Our sous chef Dylan Jennings came up with this crazy pepperoni pecan situation,” says Brady. “They have this really satisfying junk-food flavor.”

A salad in a white bowl with blue dots sits on a striped cloth next to plants and decorative rocks.

June Bug’s Kitchen Sink salad: chickpeas, olives, dates, pickles, pecorino croutons, and farm greens. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

The team is very excited about salads, too. Brady, for one, likes putting salad on top of his pizza, inspired by a salad-covered pizza he had a long time ago at Roberta’s in Brooklyn. (Try a bit of June Bug’s kale salad—Caesar-inspired but with swordfish tonnato instead of the traditional dressing—on a slice of Like a Pepperoni, he recommends. “You’ll get lots of different flavors there.”) Another option on the opening menu is the Kitchen Sink salad with chickpeas, olives, dates, pickles, pecorino croutons, and farm greens, with the dates adding a surprising pop of texture and sweetness, notes Markey.

And that wood-fired oven comes in handy for more than pizza: Watch for seasonal cooked vegetable dishes like crispy potatoes with black garlic bagna cauda and Spanish anchovies, or roasted maitake mushrooms with egg yolk jam, shallot-thyme vinaigrette, and potato sticks.

Overhead view of flan on a pink plate on a green surface.

Flan at June Bug. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

A short and sweet dessert menu rounds out the offerings: There’s a jiggly flan (with “unexpected citrus,” per the menu) and apple crisp à la mode, featuring seasonal ice cream flavors.

On the beverage side of things, June Bug has a full liquor license and bar seating, with Brady and Markey hoping to cultivate a lively later-night bar scene. The cocktail selection includes riffs on classics and some easy-drinking options like spritzes, and the team is working on building out a list of vermouth, amari, and such as well. The rotating beer list highlights New England breweries, and the wine follows the philosophy of Field & Vine, focusing on minimal-intervention producers. “We’re trying to be a bit more playful [than at Field & Vine],” says Markey, “with lots of bubbles, lots of fizzy stuff that will go well with pizza.”

A restaurant bar with peach and bright green accents and a light wooden backbar.

The bar at June Bug. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

In general, those familiar with Field & Vine will surely spot the same underlying ethos here, where locally sourced, seasonal goods are in the spotlight. (Same goes for Cambridge wine bar Dear Annie, which Brady and Markey opened with Rebel Rebel’s Lauren Friel in 2021.) “We’re not wearing it on our sleeve as much [at June Bug], but it’s there,” says Brady. “We’re not ‘farm-driven’ here, but we’re using local farms.”

“That [ethos] will never really change,” adds Markey. “It’s built into who we are and how we view the businesses.”

A restaurant dining room features a brick wall and green tables and benches.

The back dining room at June Bug. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Also built into the businesses? A focus on the team, whether it’s offering free weekly yoga classes to the staff or opening this whole new restaurant to create more high-level roles. “The fact that we had senior leadership ready to grow pointed us to saying, ‘Let’s do it,’” says Brady of the expansion, which, for example, gives chef de cuisine Mark Holmes the opportunity to step up and run the kitchens at both June Bug and Field & Vine.

A small tiger sculpture and a Spirited Away figurine sit on a backbar next to a bottle of rose wine.

Bar decorations and wine at June Bug. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

The chance to put down more roots in Somerville’s rapidly gentrifying Union Square also provided motivation to open June Bug. “It’s hard to look over at the new buildings and not feel a little nervous that that’s going to take over our quirky little city,” says Markey. “I think we both fell in love with Somerville because of its quirkiness, especially Union Square, and hopefully those little businesses that made us fall in love with this area don’t go away. Maybe if we can keep doing it, then other small businesses will keep doing it too.”

A shiny bronze pizza oven sits inside a restaurant in front of a brick wall.

June Bug’s pizza oven comes from the restaurant previously in the space, T&B Pizza. It’s from Maine Wood Heat Co. in partnership with French company Le Panyol. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

June Bug is currently open for dinner and bar Tuesday through Saturday; reservations available but not required. 251 Washington St., Union Square, Somerville, (617) 718-0569,

A version of this story was published in the print edition of the February 2024 issue with the headline, “Pizza Party!”