Culinary treasure shop Martyn George resurfaces
Lovers of whimsical kitchenware throughout Chicago were crushed earlier this year when Johanna Lowe, owner of Martyn George, announced that she was closing her Grand Avenue culinary antique treasure house. “So many people came to our closing sale,” remembered Lowe. “The shop was completely full for the entire weekend with lines out the door. There was praise and good wishes and a little bit of sadness.” Good news—Martyn George is back, at least in a small way, with a retail space inside of Bang Bang Pie Shop.
Lowe decided to close her retail store after she was unable to find another location. “I needed better foot traffic,” Lowe explains, “but the rents were just insane.” After some thought, she decided to try to preserve the brand by doing business in a smaller way. “I started to think about doing a focused presence in other established yet independent businesses.”
So, she started networking. During a weekend away at the new rural destination for Chicago’s culinary glitterati, Camp Wandawega, she met the owners of Bang Bang, Dave and Megan Miller. They suggested that Martyn George might fit with the whimsical interior of Bang Bang, and Lowe installed her selections last week.
What can shoppers find there? A range of antiques, many connected with baking. Think cakestands, madeleine molds, pie dishes and rolling pins. “I took my very appropriate 1960s red bakers rack, which fit perfectly in the space,” said Lowe. “There's the most adorable tiny red enamel teapot—a one person teapot. ($24) There are some sets of four gingham-patterned placemats—picnic placemats—rolled up with baker's twine ($8).” The selection will be regularly restocked and everything is available for sale—just go to the counter at Bang Bang. “They are all my favorite things,” said Lowe, “because I carefully choose everything.”
Look for more Martyn George popups around Chicago. Lowe teased that she might be doing a popup at The Butcher & Larder featuring antique knives, and other projects are in the works. In addition, you can shop at her website, which has a small but delightful selection of antiques to choose from.