I'm a bit late to telling you all about the March Monthly Meet-Up at Pat's, though I've been there two times after to eat so truthfully it feels like no time at all has passed since I've enjoyed the flavorful food and comfortable interior of one of my new favorite locales. It's been a long and trying winter and since I can't afford to keep my thermostat at a temperature I'd be comfortable with, I gladly settle with regular visits to the spirited and well heated dining establishments along Main St. in Poughkeepsie.
So, the afternoon was coming to an end as the gathering began. Concerned we'd have too much food to sample and not enough attendees to to do the sampling, I stepped onto the street and mentioned "community gathering" and "free food" to the first people I saw. The hopeful newcomers were hanging out (or working) at the barbershop next door when I approached them with an offer so enticing they nearly dropped their hair clippers and ran out. They were clearly regular customers at Pat's and knew very well what dish they liked most and wished they could have it more often. We were happy to see new faces come through the door (into the happenings of Middle Main Initiative) and their corresponding names signed-up.
A joyful young woman, a graduate student bard, showed up to interview residents present about their opinions of the neighborhood, the city of Poughkeepsie, and their vision for its future and how the Middle Main Initiative shapes that. I didn't catch the details of her project, only that she is working to create audio guides for several Hudson Valley cities and of course Poughkeepsie made the list. The interviewees seemed pleasantly engaged and appreciated the occasion to tell their opinions and experiences to an outsider looking in, through a more objective lens..
There were some regular Middle Main-iacs in attendance, as well as some first-timers to the party. I tried to get to talk to everyone but kept getting called back by a friendly, army veteran who spends a lot of time at the barbershop. He was asking me a lot of questions about myself, what I studied, what I see myself doing in the future; I couldn't walk away from so much interest in and free advice for my career path. But I could see that everyone was engaged in conversation and enjoying the food, maybe some for the first time. The Jamaican music was set by the young man behind the counter named Kevin; I really enjoyed that genre of music and still listen to it on Pandora.
About halfway through the event we paused for a brief description of the Initiative and the Made in Middle Main Campaign in which Pat's joined as a partner. Pat herself came out to tie her ribbon onto the Middle Main Businesses streamer, accept her framed certificate and tell us a little bit about herself and her restaurant.
All in all, I'd say the meet-up was a success in bringing together diverse residents of the neighborhood and surrounding towns and showcasing a very worthwhile, already popular local restaurant that deserves a place in your lunch hour options.