It has been four years since John and Peg Christison submitted their plans to relocate Yesterdays Fine Food & Spirits from their current location on 29 Main St. to the lot on Elm St. that has been vacant in recent years. The debate around different opinions and interests in the matter have filled the letters column in this paper and other regional publications in recent years, and the Christisons are still awaiting resolution in the courts as to whether things may proceed – or not – with this successful small business’ plans to relocate to a larger property.
In the midst of all of this, the Christisons have selflessly worked to support our community, including feeding the volunteers who built the new Stanley-Deming playground last year, and sending dinners to frontline employees during the pandemic.
Today, I’m writing in the hope that changing the minds of people still opposed to their relocation is possible. The pandemic has challenged and damaged our community in many ways, but one way small businesses have tried to thrive – and improve the experience of people in our village – has been to set up outdoor dining programs and events.
Yesterdays, along with Wolfie’s, Fratello’s, and other restaurants in our downtown have worked hard to create a comfortable, safe environment in the midst of the pandemic – when going out to eat can still be anxiety provoking for many of us.
What’s telling about Yesterdays’ outdoor dining set up is its clientele and the way they are interacting with the community. During countless letters to the editor, town meetings, and the like, it’s been spuriously suggested by those opposed to Yesterdays’ relocation that Yesterdays Fine Food & Spirits is a gin mill or saloon like Moe’s Tavern on The Simpsons. Instead, what is obvious is that the clientele that are huge fans of Yesterdays and are going out of their way to keep enjoying Yesterdays, are everyday members of our community.
I encourage you to visit Yesterdays’ outdoor dining area any Wednesday through Sunday night, this Summer or Fall, and you’ll see kids playing with the bubbles from John and Peg’s bubble machine, older couples having a dinner out in a safe environment, friends getting together for a meal to catch up outside, and families dining together outdoors. You’ll even see a lot of folks who may not be comfortable sitting at a restaurant yet coming and going to get takeout due to the high marks and awards Yesterdays has always gotten for its gastropub cuisine. What you won’t see are folks boozing and misbehaving.
In the absence of John and Peg having been able to finish construction on their newer restaurant, they’ve been able to build a prototype of what the experience will be like on their front doorstep. Anybody concerned as to what kind of environment John and Peg are trying to foster – or their ability to make it a viable business – just need to stop by Yesterdays for a nice dinner out with their family to see what’s in store. I hope you’ll agree.