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  • Democrat and Chronicle

    Outdoor dining, music makes the scene at Central on Main in Canandaigua

    By Mike Murphy, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle,

    2024-06-10
    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3BdhgH_0tms2VXC00

    CANANDAIGUA, NY — Once considered a quick fix for downtown Canandaigua restaurant businesses in a pandemic, Central on Main is becoming more of a permanent fixture.

    The Central on Main outdoor dining concept was created so that the city’s restaurants could recapture lost business because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Takeout and curbside delivery had replaced what diners had come to love from visiting Canandaigua eateries over the years.

    “We were pretty much shut down,” remembered Denise Chaapel, manager of the Canandaigua Business Improvement District and owner of Sweet Expressions chocolate and candy shop.

    Remember six-foot social distancing? You could do that by sitting outside in the parking lot between Simply Crepes and the Ontario County Chamber of Commerce building and ordering takeout from participating restaurants or having food delivered to your table.

    As the concept gained popularity, the talk among city and business leaders quickly shifted to making it a permanent feature of downtown, as much a part of visiting the vibrant city core as shopping, dining and exploring.

    “This is much bigger than that now,” Chaapel said. “It’s a gathering place for our community.”

    Eventually, music was added to the mix. The BID purchased tables, chairs and umbrellas. Murals were created. The city of Canandaigua also has made improvements to the space, and, along with the Rotary Club and state of New York, has invested in what is becoming a destination for events as well as dining and live entertainment.

    Mayor Bob Palumbo said this kept downtown going and is known throughout the state.

    “I’m so appreciative for everything everybody has done,” Palumbo said.

    There’s more to come. Artist Nestor Ortiz has "wowed us” with temporary murals in the past, Chaapel said.

    “He’s not done,” Chaapel said.

    During the dedication of the stage, the Central on Main space served as a plein air bookstore for local authors, as members of the Finger Lakes Authors and Readers Experience showcased books set in the Finger Lakes or written by authors from the region.

    Called to Care, Canandaigua will observe World Refugee Day with the organization’s International Gala at the Central on Main, from 5 to 8 p.m. June 20. In addition to food, the Cheshire Firehall Dancers will perform at 6 p.m. followed by the Fiddlers of the Genesee at 6:45 p.m.

    Performances this week include the Canandaigua Academy jazz ensemble, from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 12; country and Nashville star Claudia Hoyser, from 5 to 8 p.m. June 13; and the Michael Yacci Trio from 5 to 8 p.m. June 28.

    The stage is set for the Central on Main’s continued growth, according to City Manager John Goodwin.

    “The community will have this for many years to come,” Goodwin said.

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