Food, music and more in the new Alpena Park | News, Sports, Work

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Sherwood Pita Wagon owner Richard Fischer prepares meat on Wednesday to use in lunch dishes sold by the food truck. The Pita Wagon and 808 Bowlz food truck will be parked at the new River Street Vault food park and bar starting today. A new food truck, bar and entertainment area is located next to the Red Brick Tap and Barrel.

ALPENA – Alpena residents and visitors will have a new meeting place in the city center where they can have a bite to eat, enjoy a cocktail and listen to live music.

Today, a new food park and bar, River Street Vault, opens in a park adjacent to Red Brick Tap and Barrel.

The park will have food trucks, a walking bar and live music on Fridays. Other activities for the newly named park are in the works, according to Red Brick Tap and Barrel co-owner Kevin Peterson.

The bar section of the park won’t open for a few weeks, but people can get takeaway cups from participating businesses in the downtown social district.

We think it’s something really big for downtown and it will help give our small town a big city feel,” Peterson said. “We’re thrilled about it.”

A couple of food trucks in the park will serve lunch and dinner. 808 Bowlz brings the flavors of Hawaii to northern Michigan; specializing in poke, sushi seafood, natural ingredients and gluten-free menus.

The Sherwood Pita Wagon will offer diners inspired by the Mediterranean atmosphere, where they can choose from a variety of menu items or create their own dishes.

Opening hours from 11:00 to 20:00.

Richard Fisher, owner of Pita Wagon, said he opened his food truck late last summer and it was so well received that it often ran out of food due to high demand. Since then, Fischer has loaded the necessary products and used more cooking space to keep up with demand.

He said he expects that as more people become aware of the food truck court and bar, people will use it and sales will increase.

“So far, our business has been very well received here in Alpen,” Fischer said. “I think the food truck courts have done well and I think we should have had one in Alpen a long time ago and we need that kind of progress.”

Peterson said that he intends to play concerts in the park this summer, and other events are planned. He said he intends to keep the park, which is located on the Red Brick site, open until the end of September, as much as possible. Even when food trucks are put away for the winter, people can look forward to winter activities, Peterson said.

“We intend to host events all year round and have bands booked for the summer with a local street artist performing every Friday night.”

Red Brick is licensed to allow people who buy alcoholic drinks there to leave the restaurant and take their drink with them due to the downtown social area. Peterson said he encourages people who can buy a cocktail from another partner in the social district to enjoy their drink in the park.

Alpena Downtown Development Authority executive director Ann Gentry said the addition of the park gives people another reason to come downtown to shop, eat or enjoy drinks. She said that having more restaurants in the city center and another place for entertainment and relaxation is good for the city center as a whole.

“We are seeing the success of food truck sites in Traverse City and Petoskey, and I think it’s important to have more food options for people, especially takeaways. It will just make our city center a better place to visit.”

Steve Schulwitz can be contacted at 989-358-5689 at Follow him on Twitter

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