Showing: 2020 Clear Filter

Downtown News

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: Steve and Shami of CubanBurger

August 19, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

By Katie Mitchell / Photos courtesy of Shami Pizarro: I chatted with Steve and Shami, owners of CubanBurger, on a sultry Monday earlier this month from the comfort of my air-conditioned dining room/office. The world looks small and cold through a laptop screen, but their love and warmth transcended the two dimensional plane, and I felt I was sitting there with them, in their living room, with brand new baby Roman making cute noises in the background. Much has been written about the caliber of food you can expect at CubanBurger, and Steve has told stories of the photos that decorate the restaurant. I hope on this day to connect some dots in my mind and piece together how Steve, Shami, and CubanBurger came to be here. more

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: The Merge Coffee Company Team

July 15, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

Some friends get together to drink a beer on the porch, go fishing in a nearby pond, play wiffle ball in the backyard, or grab a bite to eat — and some friends get together with 50 pounds of green coffee beans they’ve collectively purchased and try their hand at roasting coffee one pound at a time, because why not? This kind of ingenuity seems to be a hallmark of this town. So many fantastic ideas hatched at dusk in someone’s backyard while fireflies flash and kids with training wheels roll down the sidewalk. This was the case for cousins Darryl and Charles Matthews and their coworkers Emily and Larisa Martin, who now own Merge Coffee Company, on a typical Sunday night. After several weekly attempts at roasting, they refined their skills enough that their acquaintances were requesting bags of coffee for their own consumption. And for a year, these four friends sold their coffee online, roasting a small batch every Sunday in their garage and shipping orders every Monday. more

Have a Fantastic Father’s Day Featuring Downtown Favorites

June 16, 2020 by Jeslyn Stiles

Show dad you care with delicious food, unforgettable gifts, and local love from Downtown Harrisonburg! We've assembled some inspiration for you — for our full directory of who's open, where you can eat inside or on the patio, and where you can get delivery or takeout, visit downtownharrisonburg.org/covid19. more

“Let Our Yards Be Our Gallery”: Supporting the Arts in the time of COVID with #ArtFeltThanks

June 5, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

Time and time again, since mid-March when our community began to undergo significant changes, Harrisonburg has shown resilience through inspired and creative collaborations. The ten hours a week I’m putting in as an intern at Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance is nowhere near enough time for me to write about them all. There are simply too many to keep up with: Harrisonburg mobilized fast. Every single week, some fresh idea emerges not from a giant think tank or the board room of a huge, multinational corporation, but from individuals who want to patch the holes this pandemic has ripped open. As the weeks roll on and somber numbers increase, I feel at once guilty for trying to drum up some cheer during a time of global tragedy and intensely called to do just that, as a reminder to myself of the goodness around me. more

#GiveSsam! Giving Back in the Time of COVID With Mashita

May 27, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

Some people are built for endurance. They are strong and efficient; their minds are sharp and focused, not easily distracted. They can maintain a steady pace for the long haul and put one foot in front of the other despite hills, valleys, blisters, muscle cramps, and thirst.  more

Creating Community Through Coffee: Chance Ebersold and Black Sheep Coffee

May 22, 2020 by Guest

By Allison Geringer — Wiping a bead of sweat from his brow, Chance Ebersold finishes building his 10th table for Black Sheep Coffee shop. Using reclaimed wood from the furniture at his wedding reception, Ebersold builds his tables on a foundation of love. more

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: Ms. Melanie Veith

May 20, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

This is Ms. Melanie, a Museum Educator at Explore More Discovery Museum, rubbing a balloon onto some unsuspecting victim’s head. more

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: Lori Mier

May 13, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

As I write this, it’s been 6 weeks since our local school divisions closed for the year and more than a month since Governor Northam issued executive order 55, extending the stay-at-home order to June 10. Although just yesterday the governor announced a phased reopening to begin mid-May, it’s hard to feel completely comfortable about it. In that short time, people have already experienced economic hardship and stress, an inability to keep up with rent payments, food insecurity, illness, and lack of child care, not to mention the myriad unforeseen ways the pandemic has wreaked havoc on how we collectively and individually move through each confusing day. In that same short time, ordinary people have recognized cracks in the system and swiflty and creatively pivoted to weave some sort of safety net. Our school cafeteria employees are cranking out thousands of meals each week, distributed drive-thru style by teachers to hungry families. Teachers and school administrators have spent hours figuring out how to deliver instruction safely and equitably through online platforms and paper packets. Local businesses, like the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market, have altered the way they offer their services or temporarily reinvented themselves to meet these new challenges with no real pre-existing model of how to do that (like Pale Fire Helps and Magpie Diner). And folks watching this all unfold in very scary ways have simply felt a call to help in some manner and created new channels for accessing desperately needed resources. For Lori Mier, it started with a simple offer of child care. more

Clementine: It Takes Special People to Run an Unforgettable Restaurant

May 7, 2020 by Guest

By Kaitlin Valenti — Any successful business has successful people standing behind it. Ask Matthew Clancey, executive chef and general manager of Clementine. Clancey takes deep pride in the restaurant’s employees and believes that the staff, a strong menu selection, interesting drinks, live music and a great atmosphere make Clementine unique and set it apart from other restaurants in Harrisonburg. And he should know. more

Friendly Faces of the Friendly City: Carl Goetz

May 1, 2020 by Katie Mitchell

Let me introduce you to your friend, Carl. You might not know him yet, but he’s your friend. He frequently announces his motto to anyone within earshot: “You have no idea how much I love you.” And he means it. He loves everyone, no exceptions. People as loving as he are few and far between. So I’m really happy, and honored, to tell you more about this long-time Friendly City resident, confirmed extrovert, river junkie, cyclist, art enthusiast, music dabbler, supporter of all things local, and devoted friend, Carl Goetz. more