Capitol Hill's Oddfellows Hall. Flickr photo by <a href=

Capitol Hill's Oddfellows Hall. Flickr photo by LookatLao.

There’s a story in Saturday’s New York Times about a Beacon, NY, a blue-collar city whose downtown was wiped out when industry (Nabisco, etc.) pulled out. But, they bounced back. And downtown’s low-rent, historic brick buildings became magnets for art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. Sounds great, no? It sounds a lot like the downtown Bremerton of not so few dreams, eh? But, the parties over. Almost.

Beacon’s taken a beating in the recession. Fewer tourists are coming into town. Fewer locals are going out to eat. And town’s rebound is on the verge of deflating. Perhaps they hit at just the wrong time. And perhaps Bremerton will come of age right as the economy’s picking up. With Ron Sher on the line for a the Penny’s building, and empty condos on the waterfront, it’s not such a crazy idea. But, here’s what catches my eye about Jodi Rudoren’s NYT piece:

A couple of brave entrepreneurs, including Poppy’s, a grass-fed burger shack, and Isamu, which serves sushi and Chinese food, have even opened in recent weeks.

There are a couple of bright spots: At Homespun Foods, where everything on the menu is under $10, sales rose 12 percent in January (“People are still going out for that chocolate chip cookie,” said Jessica Reisman, the chef-owner.) and Artisan Wine Shop has sold 10 percent more bottles in 2009 than at this point last year (though the average bottle price is down 8 percent).

Enter The Patio (and, sort of, the rest of Manette).

(more…)

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