Patrons of the Downtown Social District participate in the cornhole tournament on Aug. 12.

Patrons of the Downtown Social District participate in the cornhole tournament on Aug. 12.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

St. Clair Shores social district enjoyed by businesses

By: Alyssa Ochss | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 31, 2023


ST. CLAIR SHORES — The St. Clair Shores Downtown Social District is not only enjoyed by the patrons but by the businesses as well.

Jimmy Mazzola, co-owner of the Cheesecake Shoppe with his sister Sandra Kravitz, said this is the third year of the social district and that it has improved since the first year. They’ve seen crowd size increase from the second year.

“And one thing that has affected it has been the weather,” Mazzola said. “If it’s extremely hot or if we get rain, I can see business affected as soon as the rain comes, which again is pretty normal.”

He said they enjoy it, and that the cafe aspect of their business has helped.

“That’s really helped because that allows people to come in and grab a coffee at night or grab a beverage along with the cheesecakes,” Mazzola said.

Mazzola said things to improve upon include adding more bathrooms and more food options. He wanted to note these are not complaints but critiques.

There have been improvements over the last three years as well including dealing with crowd size, varying the vendors and adding more crowd-favorite bands.

“I don’t see any real distinctive holes,” Mazzola said. “It looks like they’re adapting to it.”

He also sees more businesses that aren’t focused on food open during the social district.

“Overall, it’s a great event,” Mazzola said. “I don’t see anything negative to it. I think they do a great job with it, and I think it’s becoming something that people are going to want to see and go to for years to come.”

Samantha McKean, beverage director for Cache Cocktail & Wine Bar, said the social district has been awesome this year and that it’s been busier than last year.

“I just think that now more people are hearing about it, and now that they have more activities for the kids and stuff, it’s really cool,” McKean said. “But yeah, it’s been pretty insane actually.”

McKean also said that the wine bar has been doing incredibly well during the social districts.

“We are packed to the brim every social district,” McKean said. “We brought in live music for those days, too, so it keeps people in here.”

The wine bar uses social district cups that allow patrons to take their drinks out of the business. They haven’t seen any problems with patrons in terms of alcohol or the cups.

McKean couldn’t think of anything to improve the district off the top of her head and said everything has gone pretty smoothly.

She said they have a shortened menu for the social district including a couple of frozen drinks, Jello shots and specialty cocktails.

McKean said the social districts are a lot of fun.

“I think it’s really like a ‘you have to kind of check it out’ sort of thing because it’s definitely an experience for sure,” McKean said. “But yeah, things are good.”

The next social district is Sept. 9 and the last one of the year is Oct. 28. They are held from 5 p.m. to midnight in downtown St. Clair Shores, along Greater Mack Avenue from Nine Mile Road south to the Nine Mack Drive and Cavalier Drive intersection.