Food, music and more planned for new Alpena park

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Sherwood Pita Wagon owner Richard Fischer cooks up some meat on Wednesday to be used in lunch dishes sold by the food truck. The Pita Wagon and the 808 Bowlz food truck will be parked at the new River Street Vault Food Park and Bar beginning today. The new food truck court, bar, and entertainment area is located next to the Red Brick Tap and Barrel.

ALPENA — Residents and visitors in Alpena will have a new hangout downtown where they can grab a bite to eat, enjoy a cocktail, and enjoy live music.

Today, the new River Street Vault Food Park and Bar opens in the park adjacent to Red Brick Tap and Barrel.

The park will feature food trucks, a walk-up bar, and live music on Fridays. Other events for the newly christened park are in the works, Red Brick Tap and Barrel co-owner Kevin Peterson said.

The bar portion of the park won’t open for a few weeks, but people can get to-go cups from participating businesses in the downtown’s social district.

We think this is something really big for the downtown and will help give more of a big-city feel to our small town,” Peterson said. “We are super stoked about it.”

A pair of food trucks in the park will serve both lunch and dinner. 808 Bowlz brings the flavors of the Hawaiian Islands to northern Michigan; specializing in poke, sushi grade seafood, all natural ingredients, and a gluten free menu.

Sherwood Pita Wagon will provide diners Mediterranean inspired food where they can choose from many menu items or build custom dishes.

The hours of operation are 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Richard Fischer, owner of the Pita Wagon, said he opened up his food truck late last summer and it was so well received that it often ran out of product due to the high demand. Since then, Fischer has loaded up on needed food and utilized more cooking space to meet demand.

He said he anticipates as more people learn about the food truck court and bar, people will utilize it, and sales will increase.

“So far our business has been very well received here in Alpena,” Fischer said. “I think the food truck courts have done well and I think we are overdue to have one in Alpena and we need that kind of advancement.”

Peterson said he intends to have concerts this summer in the park and other events are being planned. He said he intends to keep the park, which is on Red Brick’s property, open until as late in September as he can. Even when the food trucks are put away for the winter, Peterson said people can expect winter events too.

“We intend to have events all year round and we have bands booked for the summer and every Friday night there will be a local street performer.”

Red Brick is licensed to allow people who purchase alcoholic beverages there to leave the restaurant and take their drink with them because of the downtown social district. Peterson said he encourages people who may purchase a cocktail from another partner in the social district to enjoy their drink in the park.

Alpena Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Anne Gentry said the addition of the park gives people another reason to come downtown to shop, eat, or enjoy a beverage. She said having more dining options downtown and another venue for entertainment and recreation, is good for the downtown as a whole.

“We see the success of food truck courts in Traverse City and Petoskey and I think having more food options for people is important, especially for grab-and-go food. This will just make our downtown a better place to visit.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today