NEWPORT, Ky. — The current owners of Newport on the Levee experienced a bit of serendipity when they began planning the riverfront retail center's newest attraction.
Cincinnati-based North American Properties began planning BridgeView Box Park at the Levee months before measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus banned dine-in service and continue to limit restaurants' customer capacity as those restrictions are eased.
"What we've done is really try to embrace our community and our neighborhood and make sure to build something that's open-air and open to this great environment," said Justin Otto, general manager for Newport on the Levee.
Otto hosted a preview event at BridgeView on Thursday that showed off the outdoor dining and retail space mostly made up of large metal shipping containers and communal seating areas. The box park is located where the former Mitchell's Fish Market once stood. Newport on the Levee plans to host a grand opening of BridgeView on June 27.
"You can enjoy not only drinks, food and some shopping but also the beautiful skyline that we love here in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky," Otto said."A lot of the vendors and partners that are here with us are local to our community and that's really important to us."
Newport's Wooden Cask Brewery, Ludlow's Second Sight Spirits and Over-the-Rhine's Argentinian restaurant, Ché, are operating new locations at the box park. Those vendors are joined by Little Spoon Bakery & Cafe serving Newport-based Carabello coffee from a gazebo near the box park; Kon Tiki Bar, which serves Tiki-themed cocktails and is operated by the same group that owns the Birdcage in Cincinnati, and Cincinnati-based The Native Brand apparel shop.
"We have seven tiki drinks we specialize in," said Guy Ulam, general manager for both Kon Tiki and Birdcage. "They're all fruit-based and rum-based."
Newcomers Farmhouse Lemonade, Bon Mi Street, Leaf & Limb and New Port Art Gallery round out the stores currently populating Newport on the Levee's BridgeView Box Park and outdoor promenade.
"We're just excited to open ourselves up to the community," Otto said. "I think you see that now. We're embracing the river. We're embracing Cincinnati and we're embracing our neighbors in Northern Kentucky."
Otto added that customers also will notice design elements not included in the original plans for BridgeView, including a mural of brightly-colored hexagons painted on the ground.
"These hexagons are six feet apart," he said. "So, while it looks cool, it's a mural, it also reminds our guests to stay six feet apart."
Second Sight Spirits also is supplying the alcohol-based solution to fill hand-sanitizing stations located throughout the box park.
"We love our neighbors, our community and we want to invite them here both through businesses and just as our guests to be here and enjoy themselves," Otto said.
For more information about BridgeView Box Park, visit www.newportonthelevee.com.