Hundreds of people partied on South Ann Arbor Street Sunday afternoon at Saline Main Street’s inaugural Eats and Beats block party, which kicked off a week long celebration of food in Saline’s restaurants.
The event kicked off Restaurant week in downtown. Owners and staff from Dan’s Downtown Tavern, Brecon Grille, Smokehouse 52, Mac’s Acadian Seafood Shack, and Salt Springs Brewery served samples of their cuisine. Carrigan Café served beverages. Retailers like The News and Antiques and Cobblestone Rose also participated, selling goods under a tent.
The audience was often in awe of 17-year-old guitarist Jake Kershaw, a Marshall High School student with jaw-dropping guitar chops. Kershaw was backed by a drummer and bass player as he lit up downtown with electrifying solos.
As good as he Kershaw was, the stars of the show were the chefs and their food.
Brecon Grille served Tuna Poke and salmon sliders. Chef Chris Huey was excited as he talked about the food they served, the special items for Restaurant Week, and the crowd on hand to sample all the food at the block party.
“This is so groovy. I think everyone is so happy right now. It’s nice outside. The community’s coming together and I think it’s magical,” Chef Huey said
Saline Main Street didn’t have an official head count, but organizers pegged the turnout at around 500 people. Main Street earned some of the money on ticket sales (each restaurant charged tickets for their samples) and hopes to break even on the inaugural event – which replaced Taste of Saline event.
There’s a reason why Saline Main Street is showcasing its restaurants. The City of Saline invests in Saline Main Street because its leaders have determined that a healthy downtown is one of the keys to a stronger community. In turn, Saline Main Street believes that successful restaurants are key to a downtown that is a hub of economic and social activity.
Holli Andrews is Executive Director of Saline Main Street.
"As an economic engine, restaurants and cafes go full tilt. Eating out is a favorite thing to do, especially with family or friends,” Andrews said. “We see all ages and backgrounds co-mingling in our downtown eateries, which is the very definition of vibrancy. Outdoor seating makes our sidewalks feel lively! And, the diversity of choices we have is pretty quality here. Awesome food makes Downtown Saline a wonderful place to work, visit and live in -- so the restaurants are a very important part of our social and commercial mix.”
Mayor Brian Marl enjoyed the offerings at Eats and Beats, sampling brussels sprouts, key lime pie, catfish bites and sweet potato fries. Marl said the food was excellent.
“I think this is a marvelous event. It’s a nice addition to our downtown activities,” Marl said.
He said he hoped the event, along with Restaurant Week, would attract more visitors to downtown Saline.
“We have some great restaurants so I encourage my fellow residents to come down and patronize our restaurants,” Marl said. “They are key to the vitality and success of our downtown.”