Anna D’s Café gets OK for more farmers’ markets

They’ll be held Monday afternoons beginning June 3

By Jim McGaw
Posted 4/22/24

PORTSMOUTH — If you didn’t get to any farmers’ markets in Portsmouth last year, you’ll get another chance starting June 3.

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Anna D’s Café gets OK for more farmers’ markets

They’ll be held Monday afternoons beginning June 3


PORTSMOUTH — If you didn’t get to any farmers’ markets in Portsmouth last year, you’ll get another chance starting June 3.

Anna D’s Café and Ice Cream received permission from the Zoning Board of Review Thursday night to host farmers’ markets behind its building at 954 East Main Road. The markets will run from 2-6 p.m. on Mondays, starting June 3.

The board voted to grant Marco Di Mattino, owner of Anna D’s Café & Ice Cream, a special-use permit for an agricultural event. The restaurant also hosted farmers’ markets last year, which which sort of a test run.

The business has a large grassy picnic and garden area behind its cafe where several picnic tables are located. The tables will be moved to the back of the property and the markets’ vendors will place folding tables under the small individual tents in the center of the yard, according to Anna D’s plans.

“Last year we had a farmers’ market from July 31 to Halloween. We had three vendors that came every week in our backyard,” Di Mattino told the board, notting that one more vendor is being added this year to bring the total number to four. 

Sometimes there is live acoustic music, not nothing amplified, he said. “We don’t have a food truck or anything, but the cafe is open until 4 o’clock, and we have ice cream as well,” he added.

In explaining how it can handle the extra flow of visitors due to the farmers’ markets, the business noted it has onsite parking for 46, a septic system that was built in 2015, and that the events are being held during the “slowest hours on (the) slowest day.” The cafe’s current hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., but will change to noon to 8 p.m. in the summer.

During its busiest week last year, about 50 people showed up for the market over a four-hour span, Di Mattino said. At a single time, there were about 10 to 15 people, he said. 

“I got to be honest, it wasn’t as busy as I was hoping it would be,” he said.

Last year, the board requested a port-a-potty be installed outside, but DiMattino asked if the business could do without one this year since it has a bathroom on the premises. “It’s not very good-looking,” he said of the outdoor portable toilets.

In the town’s new Comprehensive Community Plan, Anna D’s property will likely be zoned as commercial in order to be consistent with the surrounding area, the business added.

No objections from fire marshal

In a March 27 letter to the zoning board, Portsmouth Fire Marshal Mark Reimels said his office had no problems with granting the special-use permit. He noted the “setup would be approximately the same as last year with the possibility of adding a few more tables.”

The board voted unanimously to approve the farmers’ markets on a seasonal basis, meaning the applicant doesn’t have to keep coming back for approval every year unless there is an issue or complaint. The board also decided that the port-a-potty was not necessary.

“I think it’s a good thing you’re doing,” said Eric Raposa, who was sitting in as chairman in the absence of Jim Nott. “I wish you the best.”

Anna D’s Café and Ice Cream, Portsmouth Zoning Board of Review

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.