Levitt adds JJ’s beverage service, looks for food trucks

March 20, 2019

JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars will be the exclusive beverage provider this season when Levitt at the Falls opens this summer.

The venue at Falls Park West will offer 30 free concerts beginning June 14 and running through Aug. 10.

“Some of the other Levitt shells run beverage sales, but for us it’s such a big undertaking to open it, and there are so many specific laws to follow, I thought I need a partner who’s an expert here,” said Nancy Halverson, executive director.

She found it in Tom Slattery, owner of JJ’s, who also thought the partnership made sense.

“We wanted to have a presence downtown, and this was an excellent opportunity to do so without a huge investment. We like being involved in community activities, and we thought it was a good opportunity to get it out there that we offer this premium beverage-service program,” Slattery said.

JJ’s will do an expanded version of the cash bar services it offers at other events. Wristbands will be sold at the entrance to Levitt for people to pre-purchase adult beverages.

“And once their wristband is empty, they won’t be able to get any more,” Slattery said. “We’re establishing a pricing model that’s going to be affordable, but it’s also going to exercise a system of portion control. It’s one of the biggest concerns people have is people drinking too much and things getting out of control. We’re beverage-service professionals, and we can monitor and maintain a level of professionalism about the adult-beverage service.”

There will be multiple beverage-service stations primarily serving beer with “a heavy dose of local brews, plus some popular favorites,” Slattery said.

Water and soft drinks will be available, and there will be a limited cocktail service at some events.

“We will have full special use liquor licenses for each concert, so we will have good flexibility,” Slattery said. “But I want to emphasize we will be exercising portion control to make sure things don’t get out of control and that downtown businesses relying on a heavy dose of Levitt foot traffic will be getting their fair share of business.”

JJ’s also will share profits from beverage sales with the Levitt nonprofit.

“We’re doing that to help the cause of keeping free music downtown,” Slattery said.

Now, he needs to staff the beverage service. He will hold a job fair from noon to 4 p.m. March 31 in the event room at JJ’s, 3000 W. 57th  St.

“Anyone is welcome to stop in and fill out an application at any time,” he said. “We’re looking for people from all walks of life.”

Beverage service will start at 5:30 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m. during evening concerts and go from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. during afternoon ones.

“We’re really excited to be partnering with Tom. It made so much sense,” Halverson said. “It was a godsend.”

Levitt also can accommodate two food trucks at each concert. Applications from food truck vendors are due Sunday. For information, contact Levitt at 605-271-1560 or through its Facebook page here.

“It’s exciting,” Halverson said. “We’ll start to activate the lawn an hour before each concert with food trucks and community programming, and our hope is we may have some local opening acts. The concerts are all family-friendly and a complete diversity of genres.”

The concert schedule will be announced in early May.

The shell itself got a little behind during the winter but is in good shape now, Halverson said.

“It’s coming along really well,” she said. “They’re really working on the inside, and they were able to get the lawn in before the freeze, which was a big goal and saves a lot of headaches. So as spring comes, it will come up and be much stronger.”

Levitt adds JJ’s beverage service, looks for food trucks

JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars will be the exclusive beverage provider this season when Levitt at the Falls opens this summer.

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