Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


July 18, 2013

Taste grows for al fresco dining

They call it Restaurant Row. Just cruise through Elm Square and gander at the Musgrove building and its neighbors and you can start to see why.

And now that row is about to become even more visible.

Brasserie 28 this month became the first of three downtown restaurants along that stretch to take their dinner and drinks menu outdoors with the addition of eight tables on the public sidewalk running along Main Street.

Soon, neighbors Yella Mediterranean Grille and One Thong Chai Thai Cuisine a couple dozen feet down the private Post Office Avenue will follow Brasserie 28’s lead. And still more restaurants are expected to embrace the trend in the weeks ahead.

The arrival of outdoor seating to Elm Square marks the culmination of more than two years of work involving dozens of business owners, town officials and others that included modifying town regulations and addressing concerns over alcohol being served on town streets.

But those who pushed for the approval say the additional outdoor options have the opportunity to make Andover a dining destination.

“It’s a really good thing for us,” Brasserie 28 co-owner Matthew Morello said, “but we hope it’s a good thing for the community.”

After launching with 32 seats last week, Brasserie 28 expects to add 28 more seats around the corner on Post Office Avenue in the future.

Meanwhile, Yella and One Thong Chai Thai Cuisine are not far from trading parking spaces for private seating.

Yella co-owner Danielle Berdahn said her restaurant is working on plans to convert two parking spaces into seating for 24 at six tables.

“We’re beyond excited — we’re thrilled,” Berdahn said. “We’ve been so looking forward to this and it has been a long time coming.”

Apple Tomamichel, owner of One Thong Chai Thai Cuisine, said her restaurant got approval for its seats from the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission last week. She’s currently working with property management to hammer out the details for about 15 seats in an area now reserved for parking, she said.

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