HAMMONTON - Third Thursday in Downtown Hammonton kicked off with another ribbon cutting this month as officials gathered at Touch of the Caribbean, 10 Central Ave., to celebrate the opening of the new eatery.

Owned by Rosa Esteras of Hammonton, the restaurant offers traditional Caribbean dishes made fresh daily using the recipes her mother taught her. She even makes her own homemade sofrito, a base for many dishes.

Esteras formerly operated El Dorado Grocery on North Egg Harbor Road. She no longer carries grocery items, but she continues to provide customers with their favorite prepared meals in her new location.

The menu at Touch of the Caribbean includes items like octopus salad, tripe stew, and platters with your choice of rice and meat. Some of the sandwiches offered include the Cuban sandwich with ham, roast pork, pickle, mustard and Swiss cheese; the El Dorado sandwich with fried eggs, ham, roast pork, fried plantains and special sauce and the Caribbean sandwich with chicken, Thousand Island dressing, pineapple, mild sauce, mayonnaise, tomato and lettuce.

A lengthy list of activities was hosted throughout the Downtown to celebrate Third Thursday: Amore, Italian Love Affair.

“It’s wonderful. We are having a lot of fun,” said Paula Schachter of Medford. “There’s a lot of neat stuff going on.”

At Kitchen 19, 19 S. Second St., visitors learned how to make homemade gnocchi. Eric Cecilio of Glassboro sang Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett favorites at Casciano Coffee Bar & Sweetery, 212 Bellevue Ave., and discounts were offered at many restaurants and shops. “Assassin’s the Musical” was performed at Eagle Theatre.

“We like to come just to get out in town,” said Erin Husta of Hammonton as she made gnocchi with her two daughters. “The shops are open late, which is nice for us.”

Visitors engaged in a scavenger at the Noyes Museum Shop, 5 S. Second St. The participant to solve the most riddles correctly and find the most items won a $25 gift card to the shop. Local comedian Michelle Tomko delighted crowds at Kramer Hall for during two separate performances. She also taught a comedy workshop highlighting the basics of comedy writing and performing.

Third Thursday is hosted monthly by MainStreet Hammonton with a different theme each month. Visitors enjoy free activities, refreshments, discounts and extended hours.

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