Federal Hill ‘al fresco’ dining changes to every Saturday in summer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The al fresco dining experience on Federal Hill — which has been going on each summer since COVID-19 first started — is about to change after it received some backlash from some businesses.

The Federal Hill Commerce Association voted Tuesday to limit the number of days Atwells Avenue will be closed to traffic.

The European style dining format has been a staple on Federal Hill since 2020, when the pandemic forced restaurants to change their dining strategy.

Now, Atwells Avenue will only be open for outdoor dining Saturdays after receiving pushback from some businesses who said the street closures hurt their business.

“There’s a lot of businesses that are struggling because of this. Our numbers went down significantly last year,” explained Francois Karam, owner of Opa restaurant. “We lost 40 to 60% of our sales.”

“They don’t care about us. They don’t care about every business definitely care about the select few that are benefiting from this,” he continued.

“30 to 35 participants on the avenue that will be taking part in the back on Saturday, which is always an average [of] about 8 to 10,000 patrons enjoying it,” said Rick Simone, who’s with the Federal Hill Commerce Association.

The Federal Hill Commerce Association had previously decided to not have al fresco on Fridays and voted Tuesday to decide on how many Saturdays a month they would operate.


Categories: News, Rhode Island