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Outdoor dining: Jersey Shore town plans to cut back on amount of Main Street closures

Outdoor dining in 2020 was a huge hit in Manasquan, and came back strong for another summer last year, but some say it's too much.

News 12 Staff

Apr 1, 2022, 4:15 PM

Updated 809 days ago

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Outdoor dining in 2020 was a huge hit in Manasquan, and came back strong for another summer last year, but some say it's too much.
The Manasquan Chamber of Commerce plans to cut back the amount of Main Street closures this summer from two days a week to just five all summer. 
For the last two years, Main Street turned into a street fair every Wednesday and Thursday. But this week, a decision by the chamber to only allow five days of closures isn't sitting well with some shop owners. 
“Last year was definitely overkill,” says Colleen Jacobs, with Styled Strong Fitness Wear. “We started too early, we started in April, we had two days a week, went to Labor Day. I think that kind of killed the vibe.”
Jacobs' clothing store sits right between two restaurants, and while she understands there can be too much of a good thing, designating only five days of street dining is too far in the other direction. 
“This gives people an opportunity to really feel like, we're on vacation, we're sitting outside, we're listening to music,” says Jacobs.
The chamber president says the decision to close Main Street for just five evenings this year was based on input from other store owners, financial reasons and residents who live above the shops concerned about loud music and parking. Restaurant owners and some locals say they're disappointed in the decision. 
“We made a big investment too,” says Chef Lou Smith, with Blend on Main. “We purchased chairs, tables, big investment. The town also wanted to keep it safe. That's all for not.”
The chamber president says the first outdoor dining closure is scheduled for June 30, and each of the five nights will be themed from kid’s nights to car shows.  


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