October 3, 2009

Notes from a Party (on the Pavement) ...

Great party!

That's all that really needs to be said for Downtown Racine's annual Party on the Pavement, which drew thousands of people to Main and Sixth streets Saturday to shop, eat, drink, play games and take part in dozens of other activities.

But our favorite part was just walking up and down the streets running into people we knew. Along the way we picked up a few interesting tips and took in some cool things. In no particular order ...

Come to Racine, Mr. Crepe Maker!

* Our favorite food of the day came from a small crepe stand near Uncorkt on Main Street. We ordered two tasty crepes (one with nutella and one raspberry) and talked briefly with the owner. He grew up in Paris and now lives in Milwaukee, where he runs his crepe food stand at local festivals and events. Here's the cool news: He's thinking about opening a restaurant in the former Red Onion cafe next door to Uncorkt.

* We saw Dave Blank, head of the Racine County Convention and Visitors Bureau, who had some cool news for next summer. Jet-ski races are coming to Racine in June. The professional circuit features racers going 60 mph around a water oval and also maneuvering through a figure-eight course. It's a great get for Racine, because the races draw between 20,000 and 120,000 people at other events. There's a few more big announcements coming out about the triathlon and other events ... things are going well on drawing people into the city.

Even dogs were enjoying the corn on the cob booths were selling on Main St.

* The new Gary's Music on Sixth Street looks great. When we walked in we asked the employees how long they'd been there. "About 4 hours," was the response. The new store just opened Saturday.

* We heard some bad news on Sixth Street. Blueberries, the nice little breakfast place in the former Century Market Building, isn't reopening. They had a big rummage sale Saturday to sell off a bunch of stuff. Also, a main stay of Sixth Street is close to shutting down, we're told. We'll leave out names, for now, but it just seems the business never really took off.

Nick Cibrario signs copies of his book, "Secrets on the Family Farm" at Martha Merrell's bookstore.

* There was a lot of good news on Sixth Street. First, the street is done and looks terrific. There's a little more work to do on the brick sidewalks, but otherwise the street is all but reopened. That's spurred some interest in vacant storefronts, we're told. Three new bars or restaurants are looking at opening on the west end of the street.

* One that's definitely opening is the Raytown Roadhouse, which drew crowds Saturday by running its mechanical bull. We got a tour of the country-themed saloon, restaurant and music hall. It's an impressive undertaking and the owners are hoping for a big draw right out of the gate. They're planning to open Friday with a grand opening on Oct. 17.

* Keith Fair's Tango Bar is up and running on Sixth Street. It looked packed Saturday.

Spectrum's Denise Zingg had passersby contribute to a "Racine Mandala."

* Denise Zingg, founder and director of the Spectrum Art Gallery at the DeKoven Center, had a booth on Sixth Street. Spectrum's 30th anniversary is coming up this June, and that's due entirely to Zingg's hard work and talent over the last three decades. She's done an amazing job.

* Alderman Jeff Coe was in good spirits sitting in a dunk tank on Sixth Street. On such a cold day, we hope that was warm water in the tank.

* And some odds & ends: The Over Our Head Players are planning a dinner theater show this fall. We're getting details for this first-time event. ... The Red Onion had something called the "six degrees of bacon," which was basically bacon on everything ... Mary at Copacetic had a nice selection of winter hats out, so stop by for your seasonal headwear needs ... The Katie Todd Band sounded great on the Monument Square stage.

Having fun with the cutouts on Main St.


  1. I agree...come to Racine crepe-maker!

  2. I'm guessing Cheesecakes is closing but I wouldn't mind it to be the lord of sixth streets store called moxie child to be closing, how negative of me........

    Good luck to raytown and any other good places that are going to open.
    The brick pavers and road are great.

  3. I spoke with Lauren of BlueBerries on Friday night and she was still planning to move into the Wilburs site. I would be shocked if in 12 hours she changed her mind. She did say that she didn't have room for all of the equipment at the new place.

    Let's get a bit more info on this. I hope Jewels isn't leaving Love the Cheesecake! Unfortunately Jewels open just as the 6th st. construction was about to begin. Of course it doesn't help that it's the end of the "pedestrian" season..and the tourism traffic seemed to be down from previous summers.
    If you love the cheesecake..make it a point to grab a slice or 2..and maybe she can make it. I doubt it's Moxies they seem to be doing well, and can make it thru the tough times.

    I have to say that even in a tough business climate the Downtown small businesses have maintained rather well. a few retirements (Sullivan's and Peacock's)..and a several new start-ups Camela's, Farmers Insurance..and even a few new places on 6th st. Good luck Keith, Pete and Jim, Maybe next year Jeff Shawhan will actually up his place more than 4 hours a week.
    I'm sure we will see more business looking into 6th St. next spring as the pavement is now rebuilt.

    The botom line Racine is if you want theses small start up local business to survive walk in the doorway and show your support. We are all trying to bring you a unique and special experience, to raise the bar for all of our community.

    PS Thanks to all of you who came down on Saturday despite the weather challenges. It was a pleasure to be part of such an event.