After months of being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, DryHop's patio opened for outdoor dining. Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago

LAKEVIEW — Weekend closures of Broadway in Lakeview are set to begin Friday so that restaurants can expand outdoor dining into the streets during peak hours.

Part of the city’s “Make Way for Dining” pilot program, Broadway will periodically be closed to traffic from Belmont Avenue to Diversey Parkway so that restaurants can spread out tables in the streets.

The closures will happen noon-10 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The pilot program runs every weekend through June 21.

“Lakeview East has a great variety of options for dining and this is an opportunity for restaurants to increase occupancy and revenue at this time,” Maureen Martino, executive director of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, said in a press release. “We encourage that people come out to Lakeview East to dine at one of the restaurants or enjoy takeout at one of hte tables on Broadway.”

Barry Avenue, Oakdale Avenue and Briar Place will become two-way streets during the closures. The #36 Broadway bus will be rerouted in the neighborhood, with updates to come on the CTA website.

All social-distancing guidelines, including face masks, will be enforced along the road closure.

The first weekend of the program should see sunny skies with temperatures ranging from a high of 70 degrees on Friday to 63 degrees on Saturday.

Reservations are recommended and can be made directly with participating restaurants.

Similar closures are expected to begin next weekend on various side streets in the western half of Lakeview.

If a restaurant’s patio is full, customers can order carryout and dine at a nearby side street, which will be enclosed with about 30 tables spread at least six feet apart, according to the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce.

Those closures could begin as early as June 19 and are expected to run Friday evenings through Sunday, depending on city permit approval and funding. The streets under consideration include:

  • Grace Street from Southport Avenue to the western alley;
  • Cornelia Avenue, east of Southport to the alley;
  • Henderson Street from Southport to the western alley;
  • Wellington Avenue, west of Lincoln Avenue to the alley; and
  • Paulina Street, south of Roscoe Street to the alley.

Dillon Goodson, executive director of the Lakeview Chamber, said he hopes the outdoor spaces will help restaurants recover from the financial loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

survey conducted by the Lakeview chamber in April found that the average neighborhood business projected its income would be down by at least 80 percent that month.

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), owner of Ann Sather Restaurants, has advocated for restaurants to reopen indoors at a 25 percent capacity level to help them recover from months of the coronavirus shutdown.

“This pandemic is not going away, so we’ve got to figure out the science and learn to live with it,” Tunney said. “We can find a way to do this safely.”

Read all of Block Club’s coverage on outdoor dining here.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Boystown and Lincoln Park for Block Club Chicago.

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