Eastside Market Celebrates Waco’s Arts Diversity with a Big City Vibe
Since 2019, the outdoor seating area at Brotherwell Brewing on Bridge Street in East Waco has been transformed once a month into a thriving, open-air market. So what could be better than that? This Sunday, April 3, will be the first Eastside Market on its new, expanded schedule that now includes the first and third Sundays—more time for beer, friends, food, art, and music.
The Eastside Market is the vision of creative entrepreneur Eric Linares and Andreas Zaloumis, his friend and founder of Thrst Coffee. It’s an outdoor, art-themed event with a mission to celebrate the diversity of Waco culture by supporting local businesses, artists, and artisans. In its nearly three years of operation, the market has become such a draw for locals and tourists that Linares and Zaloumis knew it was time to add a second market each month.
Live Graffiti, Vintage Fashion, Craft Beer & More
There’s something for everyone at the Eastside Market, which is in its third year of operation and steadily expanding. It is a showcase for local talent in a wide array of fields, from graffiti art to pottery to handmade accessories to craft beer and local food trucks.
Each market features a rotating roster of graffiti artists who paint a new mural while guests look on. After each event, attendees may vote for their favorite graffiti artist on social media, and the winner receives a gift card from Waco’s MC Art Supplies.
While the graffiti mural unfolds, visitors can stroll around and browse offerings from up to thirty-five vendors, including a dizzying array of vintage fashions from businesses such as Retroloom, Retro Rewind Vintage, and Powerhouse Paddle. Meanwhile, Remedy Designs will be selling jewelry made from preserved flowers, Skate Rats will have tons of cool skater swag, and Madre’s Boutique will offer a selection of curated fashions to spice up your wardrobe.
And when you feel hungry, multiple food trucks will be on hand to satisfy your appetite. You’ll find personal-sized cheesecakes from Nico’s of Texas, hot chicken and waffles from Heny’s Fly Chicken, and a slew of cookies from To the Moon Cookies, to name just a few.
Le’s Kitchen, a Vietnamese street food truck, has participated in multiple markets at Brotherwell and always benefits from the consistent turnout from Wacoans and tourists.
Owner Nhung Le says, “It’s really good marketing and I like it because I can see a lot of people who have never tried my food before. And then it’s a really good experience for my truck because my truck usually goes out of town. Eastside Market is in a good spot and we get more people from downtown Waco. I’m usually one of the last food trucks to leave, and I hope the market hours get longer as the weather gets better, so we can serve people dinner too.”
Eric Linares’s Creative Community Vision
The inspiration for Eastside Market began long before its inception in 2019, when Linares, Zaloumis, and their friends realized that Waco was lacking inclusive and creative community spaces.
“There wasn’t a really dedicated community space that was open to basically any kind of creativity,” says Linares. “I would go to some markets in Houston and Austin with my brother, and so I knew that these spaces existed and that it wasn’t that difficult to create. We realized we needed something like that in Waco.”
Once they had developed the concept, all they needed was a location, and Brotherwell Brewing fit the bill.
“The Eastside Market is probably our largest recurring event for the brewery on site,” says David Stoneking, co-owner of Brotherwell Brewing with his partner, Jacob Martinka. “We were really happy and fortunate that the property we currently have includes a huge outdoor space as well as a pretty spacious indoor area. From the very first Eastside Market, we were just blown away by the response, both by how well Eric and Adreas actually constructed the market and how they advertised it. But then the response from the vendors and from folks coming to check it all out—it just felt like the best use of our space for non-brewing purposes.”
With some serious grassroots marketing efforts on the part of Linares and Zaloumis, the Eastside Market has grown into a thriving community with a dedicated local following, drawing anywhere from 300 to 500 people.
“We just started bootstrapping everything,” says Linares, “and trying to create a community for these kinds of small entrepreneurs and small creatives. It’s going on three years now, and we’ve been able to really expand it.”
Beginning this Sunday, there will be a market every first and third Sunday of the month. Brotherwell’s outdoor seating area will fill up with bargain hunters, beer aficionados, and art lovers from all over, while one of two local DJs, DJ Alpatrii and Matt At Home, will be “laying down the vibe and creating a cool, festival-like atmosphere,” says Linares.
“One of the main reasons for doing two markets a month is to give more opportunities to a lot of the other vendors,” he says. “We have kind of a limited space now, and if we just do one market a month, then it fills up pretty quickly. We wanted to always open up some space for more vendors.”
It’s a family and pet-friendly event for anyone looking to catch some big city vibes in historic East Waco.
“I love Eastside Market so much that I plan my month around it,” says Katie Selman-Green, co-founder of Keep Waco Loud and co-owner of Stay Classy Waco. “It’s so cool and so unique. I’ve lived in cities like Atlanta and Houston and New York City, and it’s one of those things that feels like a big city thing but it’s in Waco, and it’s exactly what Waco needs.”
You can find the Eastside Market at Brotherwell Brewing at 400 East Bridge Stree this Sunday, April 3, from 12 pm to 5 pm. Get more info and updates by following Eastside Market on Instagram.
(And if you’re looking to double down at Brotherwell Brewing this weekend, head over on Saturday, April 2, for their 4th Anniversary Chili Cookoff.)
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