Deo Braga, who owns Main Street's Trio restaurant along with eight Cape Ann Dunkin' franchises, says he believes more Gloucester restaurants should try to offer regular outdoor dining options for customers.
"People love it. It's more like a European style," says Braga, whose Trio offers al fresco dining on an outdoor patio. "It just creates a different atmosphere. People love to be able to eat and see people going by, and I think it's just a great thing."
Saturday, there will be more outdoor dining on the sidewalks of Main Street, with Jalapeno's, Short & Main and Cafe Bischo joining suit. The occasion is the first of downtown Gloucester's Summer of 2019 Block Parties.
The party, from 6 to 10 p.m., will fill much of Main Street with entertainment, vendors and open shops from Pleasant to Washington streets.
"I've been coming to these for years," said Susan Gould Coviello, a Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce board member who is coordinating this year's three block parties, "so it's been nice to work with the businesses and the owners on this." The other Block Parties are planned for Saturday, Aug. 10, and Friday night, Aug. 30.
"These really have become a part of Gloucester's celebration of summer," said Coviello, who lives in Essex and heads the North Shore Health Project. "Most of the Main Street businesses are participating, and (the entertainment and a number of vendor booths) helps us showcase businesses and nonprofits that are off Main Street, too. So it's good for everybody."
Peter Webber, senior vice president of the Cape Ann chamber, said the summer block parties have become an important part of Cape Ann's summer calendar. The parties are heading into their 12th year, having been launched through a grass-roots effort by Latitude 43's Mark McDonough, Peter Van Ness and other local business leaders in September 2008.
"I guess it was clear they were onto something," said Webber, noting that the chamber has been working in partnership with the city of Gloucester to coordinate and promote the parties over the last four years under Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. "They really are now a part of what makes summer in Gloucester and Cape Ann special.
The party's entertainment ranges from local music performers to dance presentations and the likes of the Red Trouser Show acrobats on three stages and along the street.
Aside from the restaurants offering outdoor dining, others within the party zone will remain open, along with a number of Main Street stores. There will also be food carts and vendors, and several nonprofit organizations manning booths to spread the word about their roles in the community.
Webber said that, beyond Saturday's Block Party opener, there will be more to come in one of the future events. The Aug. 10 party is slated to include a beer garden, to be run by the chamber and hosted in the parking lot of BankGloucester.
"That's a little sneak preview," Webber said, "but we're already looking forward to that as well."
Ray Lamont can be reached at 978-675-2705, or email@example.com.
GLOUCESTER'S BLOCK PARTY
The performance schedule for Saturday's first Summer Block Party in downtown Gloucester:
East End Stage (in front of sponsor Bank Gloucester)
6 to 7:30 p.m.: Elaine and Geoff.
7:30 to 9 p.m.: The Buckners.
Center Stage (in front of sponsor Cape Ann Savings Bank)
6 to 7:30 p.m.: The Jantelles
7:30 to 9 p.m.: Down Home Swing
West End Stage (Sponsor: Institution for Savings)
6 to 7:30 p.m.: Allen Estes and Ken Steiner.
7:30 to 9 p.m.: Carlo Cicala & His Mediterranean Sounds.
6 to 7:30 p.m.: Zach and Juls and Gloucester Stage youth acting program.
Hancock & Main streets.
6:15 to 7 p.m.: Red Trouser Show: Acrobatics and lots of laughs.
7:10 to 7:45 p.m.: Cape Ann Dance studio.
8 to 8:45 p.m.: Red Trouser Show.
6 to 10 p.m.: Baechtold & Able Aerial Artistry.
Short & Main
Nana’s Fried Dough
Crepe Du Jour