Restaurants on Warren and Front Streets showed off their chops this past Friday with 1911 Smokehouse leading the charge with its Fridays on Front Street initiative.
Reggie Hallett, an Executive Chef and part-owner explained things are slightly different in downtown Trenton. “The difference is we’re doing Fridays on Front,” Hallett said. He said that they would have a DJ every Friday in the backroom. “We want you to start your party here. You don’t have to stay here, but we’d like it if you want to, but… start to party here. with good music, good vibes, music and food and then you can go somewhere else and continue your party.”
Friday’s on Front has been going on for about six years. 1911 Smokehouse BBQ shut down Front Street, brought in a DJ, and hosted a block party giving the Trenton Community a place to go after-hours to hang out.
“There’s always been a community here,” Hallett said. “Unfortunately, I believe most of the business caters to the state workers. There’s a whole community that if you build it, they will come. They’re looking for something they do. They need something to do.”
The night had both Trentonians and vendors out enjoying the warm weather. Vendors like Tamaine Grier, Owner of She Smokes, sold cigars during the festivities.
“It’s just such a relaxed environment. I love seeing our people out, and you know, since COVID, people can gather together. This is before COVID It was huge, and now is just even bigger. It’s a better, you know, experience for everybody involved,” Grier said.
Residents had the same idea as Danyell Williams, a Trenton resident sitting in her lawn chair enjoying the night. “The atmosphere that they always provide is great. And they bring people together, and I love that about it. And especially in the summertime when things are at an all-time high on the negative side, they bring the positive out of people, so I hope they keep it up.”
1911 Smokehouse wasn’t the only one who had decided to host a Friday night special. Skil-Lit Cafe, an up-and-coming popular breakfast and brunch restaurant, decided to host an after-hours board game night with dancing and a DJ.
Rob Wilborn, co-owner of Skil-Lit Cafe, explained that he wants to see Trenton’s nightlife compete with Princeton and New Hope. “I’m trying to bring a little nightlife to downtown Trenton,” Wilborn said. “Hopefully, we can coordinate with the city to have them open up the street.”
His Co-owner, Deonna Maldonado, said that they decided to make it a game setting by serving finger food and bringing in board games that ranged from Uno to Sorry. “We decided to have games on each table,” Maldonado said So that it’s like a fun setting, and you can hang out for a while and eat.”
Wilborn explained that this change made Skil-Lit more welcoming to the Trenton Community. “Honestly, it’s whatever the people want,” Wilborn said, “ So it’s not about us, because we…gravitate towards the people…If they want our hours to extend, that’s we’re gonna do it.”
Hallett is excited to see what the Summer has in store for the Trenton Community. “I’m a true believer. People go to Princeton; they go to South Street, they have options. I don’t expect you to eat 1911 Smokehouse barbecue every day. I don’t eat it every day. So I don’t expect you to but if there was more restaurants here at night, more people would come down here because they would have more options and it’d just be a great scene, a great vibrant community.”