Recalde’s Sidewalk Café is an unexpected slice of home

With salsa music playing in the background, the sounds of the Spanish language lingering in the air and the open-arms welcome from their employees, Recalde’s Sidewalk Café, open since February, is all about the Spanish culture. It’s an effort embracing and elevating the feeling of eating at abuela’s house.

POW! WOW! Worcester, a photo essay [Part 1]

Don’t have time for a leisurely stroll around the whole 38 square miles of the city to see the more than 40 murals left behind by the talented artists who participated in the second annual event?

The Worcester Sun, in partnership with @igworcesterma and Jaime Flores Photography (check out their website here), has you covered. And check back with the Sun in the next couple of editions to see the city’s newest works of art through the unique perspective of Jaime and friends.

A Mother’s Journey: The gentrification exasperation

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

It seems obvious to me that when a city clusters industry-specific small businesses into an area of close proximity, the community experiences growth at a faster rate. It is the underlying strategy for increasing productivity, innovation and success.

Small businesses benefit from their neighbors in a relationship that promotes the exchange and sharing of marketing, skilled workforce and technologies. As cities grow, there should be an integrated strategy for the development of small businesses and not just an emphasis on larger developments, brands and infrastructure buildout.

In December 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report, “Smart Growth and Economic Success: Benefits for Real Estate Developers, Investors, Businesses, and Local Governments,” outlining the importance of smart growth development. The concept integrates “compact and walkable” with providing “a diverse range of choices in land uses, building types, transportation, homes, workplace locations and stores.”

The report states that “by locating businesses closer together, compact development can create a density of employment that increases economic productivity and attracts additional investment.” And of course, it makes logical sense to do so.

When I drive through high-density small-business areas, like those in Main South, I do not see the implementation of logical strategies such as that of compact development from city investment, but instead, I see it through the relationships among the existing businesses.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The gauntlet of transitions, or scroll down to explore more of her story.

Worcester Weekly: stART on the Street, Clustertruck + more, Sept. 17-23

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Sept. 17 — stART on the Street, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Park Avenue, between Highland and Pleasant streets  If you’re going to bring gridlock to the heart of the city, you might as well do it with hundreds of talented artists, crafters and performers, and a list of activities longer than the backup on Chandler Street. That’s the great thing about stART on the Street — with so many cool things to see and do, for once nobody’s worried about the traffic.

Editorial: What’s next for North Main Street?

The revitalization of downtown as a retail center and destination has been dealt a double dose of disheartening disclosures in the past week.

The first was the announcements that Shack’s, the iconic clothier at Main and Mechanic streets, will close its doors for the final time on Sept. 30.

The second was that its bookend on North Main Street, Elwood Adams Hardware, 156 Main St., will also close as early as the end of September.

It is too soon to tell whether these closing are harbingers of more bad news or simply unrelated events. However, the history of the businesses that are closing — Shack’s has been in business 89 years and Elwood Adams opened in 1782 — should give us pause.

The Muse is inspired to remain a part of Worcester’s downtown revival

Upon opening its doors two years ago, The Muse, 536 Main St., across the street from Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, intended to build upon the momentum of the city’s revitalization plans.

Coming to Federal Square during the much-ballyhooed “downtown renaissance,” The Muse owners John Rinaldo and Matt Kingman set forth to be a part of the bigger picture. Cultivating a brand based on the anticipated vibes of new visitors and returning friends with hip cocktails and craft beer, The Muse has added something flagrantly unique to the urban lifestyle trend in Worcester.

Coupled with its tight embrace of the city’s flourishing arts scene, The Muse quickly set itself apart from the typical Worcester bar.

With more than 30 years of hospitality experience and a hearty helping of inspiration from other forward-thinking business owners like Alec Lopez, owner of Armsby Abbey and The Dive, Rinaldo saw Worcester for what it truly is: a blank canvas.

Inbox [Aug. 30]: News and notes from Jeremiah’s Inn, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund, Our Revolution, Communicators Club, NAMI Central Mass.

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

[Editor’s note: This article contains political endorsements from advocacy groups. The Worcester Sun sharing these publicly available statements in no way constitutes an endorsement on our part of the corresponding organization’s choices or opinions.]

Jeremiah’s Inn to sponsor inaugural Chopped!Worcester

Jeremiah’s Inn will host its inaugural Chopped!Worcester fundraiser from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 25 in the White Room at Crompton Collective, 138 Green St.

Using ingredients from the food pantry at Jeremiah’s Inn, four local chefs will go head to head, creating an appetizer and an entrée. Their food will be evaluated by a three-judge panel. After both rounds are complete, a winner will be declared.

Chef contestants are Mike Arristia (Hangover Pub), Matt Mahoney (Kummerspeck), Chris O’Harra (Flying Rhino) and Jay Powell (Twisted Fork). Their dishes will be judged by Jim Eber, Alina Eisenhauer and a third judge to be announced. Dale LePage will serve as emcee.

Tickets are $27 and include food provided by local restaurants and caterers, and the opportunity to bid on auction items. There will also be a cash bar featuring special nonalcoholic drinks.

Worcester Weekly: Battle of Badges, Party for ALS + more, Aug. 13-19

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Aug. 13 — Civil War Movie Series: “Glory,” 4-6 p.m., Mechanics Hall, 321 Main St.  Nothing like a light-hearted, fun summer flick to help you forget August is half over already. Or you could go the other way, and immerse yourself in the harrowing, humbling experiences and selfless heroics of one of America’s most historically significant Army regiments. (Then again, watching Matthew Broderick and Cary Elwes try to act like soldiers is kind of funny.)

MassDevelopment purchases Money Stop building in Theatre District

A Main Street building that was identified as a target for acquisition and redevelopment by the Worcester Redevelopment Authority’s ambitious downtown renewal plan has been sold.

The building at 526-538 Main St., known for its primary tenant, The Money Stop pawn shop — and its conspicuous billboard — was sold to Massachusetts Development Finance Agency for $800,000 in a sale that closed May 31.