Providence is Open for Business with Outdoor Dining, Street Closures and Events
Local businesses and guests can also take advantage of some amenities that might make generating more business a little easier.
On Friday, local officials and hospitality leaders gathered on the Ellie’s patio to announce things to look forward to this summer in Providence’s dining scene. Local business owners are welcoming a series of road closures, parklets, outdoor dining options, block parties and arts and entertainment programming for the spring-summer-fall season.
A few things to look forward to include a Juneteenth Block Party on June 19 at Julia Broome’s Kin Southern Table and Bar, the reopening of the Providence GPub as an outdoor beer garden on Memorial Day weekend, and Open Air Saturdays, starting on Saturday, May 8, which shuts down Westminster Street to vehicle traffic between Eddy and Union streets for shopping and outdoor dining.
Local businesses and guests can also take advantage of some amenities that might make generating more business a little easier, all effective through Dec. 31, 2021. Some of those amenities include waiving fees for businesses associated with special event permits, including application fees, street closures, police and fire details and vending fees; creating and training a Special Events Team to assist event producers to implement COVID guidelines during events permitted by the city; offering up to two hours of free parking in designated commercial districts throughout Providence; and launching a webinar series to help businesses navigate the special event, outdoor dining and expansion of premise applications.
The businesses are eager to bounce back in creative ways, using much-needed outdoor space. “Providence is open for business and we are excited to safely welcome folks back to our vibrant downtown,” says Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “As we continue the process of reopening, we want to support our local creative economy by investing in our artists and entrepreneurs, strengthening our workforce and encouraging residents and visitors to experience our world-class small businesses, restaurants and local shops.”
Local restaurant owners Colin Geoffroy of the Providence GPub and the Rooftop at the Providence G, Ellen Slattery of Ellie’s and Gracie’s, Julia Broome of Kin Southern Table and Bar and Lauren Lynch of Rosalina and Kleos all spoke about the challenge of opening and running restaurants during a very difficult time for the hospitality industry. All noted the industry’s resiliency and ability to persevere and get creative to survive, including Broome, who opened six weeks ago in the middle of the pandemic.
“Opening a new restaurant in the midst of a pandemic has been a challenge to say the least, but we’ve been thrilled to see so many customers visiting to enjoy our comfort food,” says Broome. “Working with the city, we’ve been able to open up an outdoor dining bistro area that’s quickly become very popular. We’re looking forward to a great season ahead with so many fun things happening in downtown Providence.”
Regarding Kin, even Mayor Elorza noted that he was stopped by a random person on the street who told him, ‘you better try that catfish.'”
The businesses are thankful to continue offering outdoor dining and for road closures that expand the al fresco dining footprint. “Fortunately, we’re starting to see a rebound and thanks to the work of the city to give us more freedom around road closures and outdoor dining, downtown is ready to come roaring back,” says Geoffroy. “We’re excited to be a part of that comeback with live music and great views on the Rooftop, and our G-Pub outdoor beer garden opening soon on Orange Street.”
Lauren Lynch, owner of Rosalina and Kleos, is particularly excited for Open Air Saturdays, which blocks off a portion of Aborn Street right in front of the restaurants. She says Rosalina was able to procure a few pushcarts through the Providence Foundation, and they will be offering a special treat to visitors.
“On Open Air Saturdays, we’re going to be offering our own version of New York System hot wieners, but they will be called Rosa-weenies in honor of Rosalina,” Lynch says. “We’re going to be introducing that this summer as well as continuing outdoor dining, which we did all winter. Hopefully as we get into the nice, warmer weather, people are able to join us at Rosalina and Kleos, along with our neighbors, dining in the street, dining on the sidewalk and enjoying that fresh air safely.”
More details regarding Providence’s outdoor expansion efforts can be found on thinkpvd.com.