By Elizabeth Dobbins, email@example.com
FITCHBURG — It’s not just about the food at Al Fresco Fitchburg, a new Main Street event promoting locally owned restaurants.
It’s also about the scene.
“You’re going to have eight restaurants cooking in front of you,” said Joel Kaddy, organizer and Ward 3 City Councilor. “You’re going to have beautiful dinner music. You’re going to have the smell of the food.”
During the event Thursday evening, diners will sit down at tables set up in Main Street to watch chefs cook multiple course meals and dine, Kaddy said.
“The whole idea is to provide outdoor dining and to support locally owned restaurants,” he said.
The event — a collaboration between Kaddy, Fitchburg Pride and the city’s economic development office — will temporarily shut down Main Street between Prichard and Oliver streets.
Tables of six, two for each restaurant, will be seated at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. and diners will eat as soft music is played.
Craft beer and other alcohol will be available at a cash bar until 10 p.m. and afterward diners are encouraged to visit other downtown businesses, like The Boulder Cafe, for drinks.
“I would like some of our customers to visit some of our other locations,” he said.
Unlike many “taste of” events, diners will eat food at the event from only one restaurant — the place where they purchase the ticket.
Tickets are available at Dario’s Ristorante, Zapata Mexican Cocina, The Fay Club, Dickie’s Grillin, Slattery’s, Oak Hill Country Club, Beemers Pub & Grill and Il Ricordi.
Zapata’s offerings will include ceviche, rice, beef, guacamole and smoked churros, owner Michel Coronado said.
A preliminary menu from Slattery’s includes chilled gaspacho, a salad of roasted red and golden beets and a roast tenderloin of beef.
“We’ve always been involved in the city,” Slattery’s owner Dave Celuzza said. “It’s the good will. It’s being part of it with the rest of the city.”
The restaurant’s 24 seats at the event were almost all purchased as of Friday afternoon, according Celuzza.
Kaddy said he hopes diners are inspired to try new restaurants from the food they see at the event.
“We have some wonderful restaurants and some wonderful people running them,” he said.
In the event of rain, Al Fresco Fitchburg will be moved to July 27.
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