Backstage Pub & Grill owner Casey Blum served up a series of Buffalo-style sliders Thursday evening.
He also offered up a side of directions to his restaurant — across from the side door of Proctors and just down Clinton Street from the Hampton Inn.
The directions came because Blum was serving those sliders inside Lennon’s Irish Shop at 164 Jay St. as part of the fourth downtown Merchant Mash Up.
The goal of the event is to introduce more people to downtown Schenectady’s businesses, both retail shops and restaurants.
“It’s been going great. A lot of new people are coming in,” Blum said from behind his table set up in the front of Lennon’s Thursday evening, just before a mini rush of event-goers. “A lot of people don’t know about our business yet. This is good exposure for it.”
The event, put on by the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp., pairs a restaurant and retail shop for the evening. In all, nine restaurants moved into downtown retail shops and three other retail shops took up temporary residence in restaurants.
At each location, the restaurants offered free samples of their food, and some offered larger portions for a small charge. Then, once in the shop to try the food, those customers could also look around and take in the shops themselves.
Maryann May, an owner of Lennon’s, said that’s just what people were doing. She said she had a variety of people say they hadn’t been there before, but liked what they saw.
“It brings in those people who maybe would just pass by or walk by, but they stop in for the food and they stop in to take a look around,” May said.
Since its inception in 2011, the event has been evolving and adding new features, according to DSIC Executive Director Jim Salengo.
Thursday night’s Mash Up included extra incentive to try out retailers’ wares, offering Proctors movie tickets to the first 50 people who spent $25 or more at one of the downtown businesses.
“The fun part is that you get the businesses working together, getting to know each other and then getting the people to experience all the businesses,” Salengo said.
Taking a break on Jay Street after working their way through several sites Thursday evening were Ellie Isabella and Joan Hurley, friends from Scotia.
“The food is delicious,” Isabella said, saying she wanted to go back to one place and get some to take home.
“And we’re getting quite a lot of it,” Hurley said.