This Thursday evening, Riverhead’s Main Street will close to vehicular traffic to make room for al fresco summer dining. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Riverhead Business Improvement District’s annual Alive on 25 street fair is off this year, but instead Dine on 25 was born.
The first in a series of outdoor dining experiences will be held on Thursday, July 16, during which diners with reservations can enjoy food and drink from local eateries, breweries and the distillery, at a safe distance apart on the sidewalks and in the street. Two more events are planned for August 13 and August 27. The road will be shutdown from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
“We have seen how quickly these businesses have had to change their operations to adapt throughout the pandemic,” Steven Shauger, the Riverhead BID president, said in a statement. “We’re now adapting, too, to keep Riverhead alive and vibrant throughout the summer. Dine on 25 is an innovative, solution-based event series designed to help our local eateries and downtown businesses recover losses after the COVID-19 shutdown.”
Participating street-side only restaurants include Cliff’s Rendezvous, Digger’s Ale’s ‘N Easts, and Turkuaz Grill, among others. Some restaurants, like PeraBell Food Bar, Dark Horse Restaurant, Preston House and Hotel, and Jerry & The Mermaid, are offering indoor and outdoor dining at their location.
North Fork Brewing Company, Montauk Distilling Company, and Long Island Brewing Company are also taking part. A list of participating businesses can be found online.
Some eateries will continue to offer take-out and people can eat on public benches and picnic tables along the Peconic Riverfront or on the grassy area at East End Arts, on a first come, first serve basis.
Retailers and service providers in the area will be allowed to display their goods during the event.
“Alive on 25 has been a family event that the East End looks forward to every summer,” said Kristy Verity, the Riverhead BID executive director. “Everything we do will look different now. It goes without saying that the past few months have been difficult for everyone, but we’ve seen how the community has come together, stronger, to support one another.”
Face coverings are a must when patrons are not seated, Riverhead BID said, adding that businesses and diners are encouraged to practice social distancing when they can.
“We want to remind and assure our community that this is not a street festival or gathering event,” Verity continued. “Dine on 25 is an extension of our Main Street restaurant’s serving areas, simply a chance to enjoy some food or drinks while seated outdoors. We are following every safety protocol and working closely with our state and local enforcement agencies under current regulations.”
The Town of Riverhead, the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce, and the Riverhead Police Department have helped make the event possible.
Public restrooms, located in the south parking lot along the riverfront, behind Sunny’s diner & Baccano barber shop, will be open. More information is available at downtownriverhead.org/dine-on-25.