Main Street in Riverhead was transformed into an open-air dining room Thursday night for the first installment of Dine on 25.
The event allowed restaurants and breweries to sprawl out onto the street, setting up tables, chairs and umbrellas at businesses downtown while several live performers set the soundtrack for the evening.
Organized by the Riverhead Business Improvement District and Riverhead Chamber of Commerce, the dining event was proposed as a way to make up for the loss of “Alive on 25,” which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It also aims to help restaurants recoup some economic losses as a result of the shutdown.
Kristy Verity, the BIDMA executive director, said the first installment was a success and they’re looking forward to hosting three more.
“The weather was fantastic and we saw lots of smiling faces,” she said in an email. “People were happy to be outside enjoying craft beverages and food, there was live music in the background, and brewery and restaurant owners were very pleased with the turnout.
“Dine on 25 was the low-key dining event we envisioned, not a street festival, and the public perception was generously positive.”
Reservations were required to lessen crowds. Face masks were also required for diners before being seated at a table.
Ms. Verity said people followed the precautions of wearing masks when not seated and keeping a safe distance from others not in their group.
“The BID was pleased to see our first Dine on 25 event run smooth and safely, we could not have asked for a better evening on Main Street,” she said.
Some restaurants also continued to offer takeout service, giving diners the ability to eat down at picnic tables on the riverfront.
Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said the event was a success. She strolled down Main Street after dining at Cliff’s Rendezvous.
“It was hopping,” she said. “It was great to see people out and enjoying themselves. We’re entering the new normal and it’s evident that we’re adopting well.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday also announced a series of new regulations for bars and restaurants. Under the new policy, alcohol can no longer be served to guests unless they also order food and walk-up bar service will not be allowed.
The new rules were put in place to increase compliance with social distancing guidelines.
Three more ‘Dine on 25’ events will be held July 30, Aug. 13 and Aug. 27.
“We’d like to thank our sponsor, sPower for their generosity and the Town of Riverhead, Riverhead Police Department and the fire marshal for their commitment and support in helping our downtown community safely thrive and continue moving in a positive direction,” Ms. Verity said.