Al fresco dining to return to Federal Hill for third year
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Al fresco dining is returning to Federal Hill for a third year. The city originally launched its outdoor dining event in 2020 to support struggling restaurants at the height of the pandemic.
The dining experience allowed restaurants to expand outdoor dining capacity when restrictions were tight. Businesses closed down several blocks of Atwells Avenue so dining could be expanded into the streets.
The Federal Hill Commerce Association held a press conference at on Friday at DePasquale Plaza where officials announced new investments to Federal Hill’s infrastructure. Commerce President Rick Simone also announced the opening of six new restaurants within the past year.
“Something if you asked us a year ago we would’ve thought we would’ve been losing businesses,” Simone added.
The McKee administration announced a $200,000 grant to help support the outdoor dining event and it’s small businesses.
Michelle Politano moved from Boston to Providence to start her own vegan restaurant, Pianta. As executive chef, the entrepreneur told ABC6 News she’s thrilled to take part in Al Fresco.
“I think that’s the energy that kinda makes this place so magical. To be part of that is something really special to us,” she explained.
One concern for many during the dining event: safety.
ABC6 News caught up with Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh Clements who said the department is increasing and directing resources, patrols, and overall police presence.
“We have a big commitment of resources for the action up here, and it’s a challenge,” the Colonel explained. “Police are needed up here and I know the business community really enjoys the presence of the men and women of the Providence Police.”
The event will run every Friday and Saturday. A portion of Atwells Avenue will be closed from 3:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. starting May 13.