By Jackie Delamatre & Torin Mathieu
It has been a challenging few months for many in the Summit neighborhood and beyond. Yet, many local businesses have met the Covid era with inspiring creativity and generosity. From new products to fresh takes on dining to donations, Summit business owners have found ways to keep the lights on all while helping neighbors feel the love.
At Chez Pascal, owners Kristin and Matt Gennuso decided from the beginning not to open for indoor dining until it was safe for their staff and their customers. Instead, they have created a take-out menu that draws customers to their curb every night. They have also recently launched a creative twist on outdoor dining. Dubbed “Apres Ski” dining, their set-up includes Adirondack chairs made from old skis donated by neighbors complete with outdoor heaters, blankets, and warming seat pads.
Kristin said their customers had been up for outdoor eating through the mild start of winter, but it was beginning to get chilly. She and Matt knew they needed to find a solution that would keep people comfortable. They thought about how after skiing everyone wants to eat something warm, and “we just took the whole theme and ran with it.” Instead of multiple courses in freezing weather, they focused on quick, simple, one-pot items. Matt researched foods and drinks found in the Alpine regions, and their menu now includes Tartiflette and Herb Spaetzle as well as a sampler of “very warming” Amari from Italy and Switzerland.
“People have just embraced it so much,” Gennuso said. “The other night Jan,” the owner of Stock, “and her husband came by all decked out in ski gear!”
Four blocks away at India Restaurant, owners have also been ramping up their take-out business — all while donating 100 free meals a day to those in need.
But it’s not only restaurants that are innovating and inspiring. Local Hope Street store, Frog and Toad, had a smash hit of a product at the beginning of the pandemic with its t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “Knock It Off” – in honor of Governor Raimondo’s admonishment. Later, the store’s owner, Asher Schofield, pledged to donate one mask to Providence’s schoolchildren for every “PVD Love” mask sold.
At Kreatelier, Summit’s local fabric concept store, they knew immediately how they could be helpful. Mask-making fell squarely in their wheelhouse. Owner Line Deams and her team of nine seamstresses made 25,000 fabric masks. For every ten masks sold, they donated one. A total of approximately 3,500 masks went to Amos House, Dorcas international, local schools, and the elderly. They even gave orange child-size masks to local trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
It’s been a long few months here in Summit, but the local businesses have brought smiles to their neighbors’ faces. We know they are there behind the masks!