According to city and local businesses, Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, was a good kickoff of what they think will be a successful season in Long Beach.
“We had a dynamite weekend,” city spokesman Gordon Tepper said. “The beaches were packed, the boardwalk was packed, the weather was great. The city is thrilled with the turnout from Memorial Day weekend.”
The beach officially opened to the public last Saturday, and sunny weather — for most of the weekend — brought locals and tourists down to the sand in droves. Though Tepper said he has no statistics yet, the city estimates that this Memorial Day weekend drew bigger crowds than last year. And even though Long Beach isn’t starring in tourism commercials like last year’s, which featured Billy Crystal, the city is mentioned in two state-sponsored commercials starring Billy Joel and Michael Strahan.
Following up on its successful inaugural season last year, the Shoregasboard reopened at Riverside Boulevard. Beachgoers enjoyed returning favorites like Swingbellys Cool Kitchen, Sugo Cafe, Lido Kosher Deli and Villagio, as well as newcomers like Corazon de Cuba, Whale’s Tale and the Beach House. Tepper said that the food truck court will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week for the rest of the summer. Though not all of the trucks may be there on weekdays until the end of June, he said, there should still be plenty of options for residents looking for somewhere to go on their lunch break.
For the first time, the city is also allowing local vendors to sell food and drinks on the boardwalk and the beach. Employees of Gentle Brew Coffee Roasters roamed the West End beaches last weekend, selling their bottled cold brew coffee.
“It was great to be there. It was a lot of fun,” said Marc Chiusano, lead barista at Gentle Brew. “It was busy — the boardwalk was alive and hopping. There was a lot of good energy.”
Right next to the food courts, I.Fly Trapeze also returned to Riverside Boulevard beach for the holiday weekend.