There's a Reason It's Called Market Street
One of my favorite local restaurants is Bucco. Many of you may remember when they were located in Clifton, at the intersection of Allwood Road and Clifton Avenue, but several years ago they relocated to Bloomfield on Washington Street. Since this is a Clifton-focused news site you may be wondering why I am bringing up a restaurant from Bloomfield. Yes, the food is great at Bucco, I’d even say it’s better than it was when it was in Clifton, and now the restaurant is a BYOB establishment (which is a big plus in my book), but the reason I’m mentioning Bucco has little to do with the food and way more to do with the street it’s located on.
Washington Street in Bloomfield is a short road, with various stores and restaurants, but each summer Washington Street is shut down to vehicle traffic on weekend nights and it becomes a gathering place for dining, and live music. It’s a summer tradition that residents and restaurant owners look forward to each year, as the restaurants bring tables onto sidewalks and streets and people enjoy dining al fresco while listening to local bands.
In Clifton, the closest thing we have is Botany Village where there is a summer concert series in the Botany Village Square and residents bring folding chairs to listen to live music, and maybe even do a bit of dancing. Clifton Thai, will open its patio doors wide to give diners the next best thing to al fresco dining and it's generally a fun way to spend a summer evening in town.
But, what about other streets in town? Certain areas have plenty of restaurants, but the roads are way too busy to shut down, even for a few hours; others are quiet and less traveled but don’t offer a variety of places to dine. And then, there is Market Street.
In the Allwood section of town, Market Street is relatively short stretch of road that boasts an impressive assortment of different dining options. If you start at the Allwood Movie Theater, and walk Market Street towards Brighton Road, you will pass:
- Ino Sushi
- New China Wok
- Mausam Indian Curry ’n Bites
- Angelo’s Pizza
- Lamoon’s Thai Restaurant
- All the Smoke Barbecue
- Agamie Gourmet Deli
- Empanada Spanish Grill
Let’s say we pick a Saturday night in the June, and try doing on Market Street what is done so successfully on Washington Street in Bloomfield.
- Block off the road to vehicle traffic (for just a few hours)
- Allow restaurants to put tables on the sidewalk or on the street and serve customers outdoors when the weather is perfect for doing just that
- Offer special menu items or priced-fixed meals to encourage Clifton residents to try out restaurants they haven’t tried before
- Solicit a band to play live music and let residents literally dance in the streets (after the past few years, we certainly deserve it)
- Give residents who may still be COVID-wary a chance to enjoy a night where they don’t have to cook dinner at home but can enjoy restaurant dining in the great outdoors
I often see that ideas in Clifton get shot down because they haven’t been done before. I am not on the city council and I don’t know the logistics of pulling something like this off, but I do know that as a Clifton resident, I’m tired of having to drive out of town to Bloomfield or Church Street in Montclair (another street that does the same thing on summer weekends), to get a fun community dining experience like this.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!