Patrons turn out to support businesses in Manasquan

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Visitors filled Manasquan’s newly-created Main Street Pedestrian Zone on Wednesday evening, dining at the outdoor tables of restaurants and shopping inside stores for the first time since late March. PHOTO BY MARK R. SULLIVAN

MANASQUAN — Last week, the borough kicked off the start of its summer-long Main Street Pedestrian Zone aimed at promoting outdoor dining and in-store shopping.

Despite the weather, visitors were eager to dine outside and shop in stores that had been closed for three months.

Lou Smith, owner of Blend on Main, said he was happy to resume business and embraced the town’s offer, which allowed his restaurant to expand its outdoor dining area.

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“Our tables have been jam-packed, so all good signs,” Mr. Smith said. “I had people sitting in the rain that said ‘I don’t care if it’s a monsoon, I’m eating out for the first time in four months.’ ”

Mr. Smith said diners were not the only ones excited to be back at the restaurant — his kitchen staff was also happy to be cooking and plating meals again.

He added that Blend is now accepting reservations for indoor dining, following Gov. Phil Murphy’s announcement on Monday that restaurants can open for indoor dining, at 25 percent capacity, on Thursday, July 2.

Down the street at Max Devros, Carrie Devereux, who owns the restaurant with her husband Brian, said she couldn’t believe how many people came out to show support for their outdoor dining debut.

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