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Northampton kicks off Summer on Strong outdoor dining experience

Northampton kicks off Summer on Strong outdoor dining experience
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 11:35 PM EDT
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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -Blocked-off traffic allowing for outdoor dining has made its return to the city of Northampton once again. It’s happening on Strong Avenue, turning it into a pedestrian-only zone.

The summer-long block party started this week. We spoke with some restaurant-goers who told us they will be back, after enjoying the popular outdoor dining experience on the first Friday of the season.

“It just feels great now to be able to come, eat outside being locked up for so long it’s actually great now to enjoy the weather and eat good,” said western Mass. resident Melvin Henry.

The city of Northampton has kicked off its second annual Summer on Strong outdoor dining experience, with new faces in attendance Friday night.

“This is actually my very first time and I’m loving it, I’m loving this environment, I’m loving the scenery, I’m loving the people,” said western Mass. resident Marcus Rodriguez.

The upper end of Strong Avenue will be closed to traffic through October, with parking available on the other end and the municipal lot.

Six restaurants are participating, with each having its own section of tables on Strong Avenue.

“This is our second year doing it. We tried it last year and weren’t sure where it would go, and it was amazing,” said Amy Cahillane, executive director of Downtown Northampton Association.

People can also enjoy two public seating areas where they can listen to live music on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Western Mass News caught up with the co-owner of one of the restaurants that’s participating for the second time. He told Western Mass News that they’re still prohibiting indoor dining due to COVID-19, so they’ve been looking forward to this for months.

I think that by participating in something like summer on strong again, we have like seating in front of the store seating in back of the store, but to be able to come out into this block party feel just brings a lot more energy into it,” said Danny McColgan, co-owner of Familiars Coffee and Tea.

Mulino’s Italian Restaurant on Strong Avenue isn’t participating in the outdoor street dining, but restaurant manager Sara Hofer said they would take part if their kitchen wasn’t on the second floor of their building.

“It brings people to Northampton and that’s the most important it’s beautiful they do a great job setting it all up, we support it,” said Hofer.

The outdoor dining is open on Strong Avenue through October 10th. A full list of restaurants could be found on summeronstrong.com.