ALI closes streets to give way to al fresco dining
The Makati Street Meet revived al fresco dining on Rada and Leviste Streets in Legaspi and Salcedo Village, respectively, closing both streets to traffic on Valentine’s Day and on Feb.28—all within the bounds of the health and safety protocols of the city. Across town, a short drive west of Ayala Avenue, Circuit Makati hosted the Riverside Sessions—dining by the riverside, musical performances by a violinist and a saxophonist, and on-the-spot sessions with a caricaturist. In BGC, under the My Street High Street program, portions of 5th Avenue go car-free every Saturday and Sunday so BGCitizens can freely play and dine outdoors from beloved Bonifacio High Street restaurants. Fresh vegetables and produce from displaced farmers of the Benguet Collective are also made available on weekends. This initiative not only aims to support social enterprises that were severely hit by the pandemic, but also offer affordable goods to the BGC community. The good news, according to Chrissy Roa, head of marketing and communications, is that these events will henceforth be happening on a regular basis, in response to the clamor of both restaurant owners and customers. She said the Makati events are the initiative of Ayala Land, Make It Makati and Makati Central Estate Association Inc. The next runs of Makati Street Meet will happen on March 14, April 4, April 18, May 2, May 16, June 13, and June 27. Riverside Sessions at Circuit Makati will happen on March 14, April 18, May 16 and June 27. Al fresco, or outdoor, dining has emerged as one of the biggest global trends in the pandemic-hit restaurant business with parking lots, streets, gardens, and other open spaces being used to cater to patrons in safe and open-air environments. This development came as the economy started a slow but steady rebound with the easing of quarantine restrictions. Ayala Land has been implementing road closures in Makati and Bonifacio Global City to promote safe outdoor community events. Its other estates like Nuvali, Vermosa, and Vertis North also feature big open spaces and pockets of green for this purpose. The Makati Street Meet was held every month for three years at its original venue along Paseo de Roxas until the pandemic closed it down a year ago. But with the gradual easing of health and safety restrictions this year, it is being revived with a new format and purpose – to help resuscitate the ailing restaurant industry.
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