Podcast: L’Arche Boston North Brings Back the Longest Table in August to Kick Off Restaurant Week

L’Arche Boston North is making plans to bring back the Longest Table in August, kicking off the Greater Haverhill Chamber’s Restaurant Week with a boost for local eateries.

Last year’s plans were scuttled by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the group that helps adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities is bringing it back with only minor changes. L’Arche Boston North Executive Director Jennifer Matthews, a guest on WHAV’s morning program, says Haverhill’s restaurant community is tightknit and supports one another.

“Going into the pandemic, and knowing how hard hit our restaurant communities were hit across the world, Haverhill’s resiliency is really rooted in the people who own these restaurants, and the people who work in these restaurants. Everyone came together to support one another, and you see it every day on social media. You see people who own one restaurant in another restaurant just complimenting the chef or taking pictures and making sure people know what an amazing meal they had. It’s something you don’t see in other places. It’s something I’ve never encountered in any other area. I think Haverhill is really special. So, this year we would like to thank our restaurants for participating, so 20% of the ticket sales will go back to participating restaurants,” she says.

L’Arche Boston North provides housing and day programs, including a small business producing homemade hummus.

Matthews says the Longest Table will be laid out Thursday, Aug. 19 and helps the restaurants show off their cuisine and invites people to come together.

“The longest table takes place on Wingate Street and it’s a joint effort between L’Arche Boston North and the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, and the event kicks off the Restaurant Week for the City of Haverhill. We transform Wingate Street, in a very short amount of time, into an outdoor dining room. We have a very long table, so the first year we did it in 2019 the table was about 250 feet and we had about 186 people seated at the table, and we worked with all of the local restaurants to help cater a family style meal for the guests at their table,” she explains.

Matthews says this year, instead of selling individual tickets to the event, plans right now are to sell tickets by tables of six for $600, which includes food, a gift bag and entertainment. In view of the pandemic, she adds, this is a safer way to have the Longest Table. Details are still be worked out, but those interested may learn more at larchebostonnorth.org.

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