Open street dining in Lakeview Credit: Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce

LAKEVIEW — Two outdoor dining spots are popping up in Lakeview this weekend, creating shared dining halls where customers can enjoy their to-go orders.

The Dine Out West Lakeview program will close two side streets along the Southport Corridor and Lincoln Avenue to create the outdoor food halls, according to an announcement from the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce.

A stretch of Cornelia Avenue will be closed just east of Southport for the first dining location, which will be open 5-10 p.m. Fridays and 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

The second dine-out spot will be Wellington Avenue, just west of Lincoln, according to the local chamber. It will be open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

If a restaurant’s patio and indoor seating is full, customers can order to-go and eat in one of these enclosed spaces, which will have about 30 tables spread at least 6 feet apart, said Carisa Marconet, events and marketing director of the chamber.

“We wanted to have a few closures throughout the neighborhood so we can spread it out rather than creating one big gathering of people,” Marconet said. “It also allows for more restaurants to take advantage of these spaces.”

Additional outdoor dining locations could be added at:

  • Grace Street from Southport Avenue to the western alley;
  • Henderson Street from Southport to the western alley; and
  • Paulina Street, south of Roscoe Street to the alley.

Each dining site costs $1,500-$2,000 per weekend to maintain, including equipment, furniture, cleaning supplies and hiring staff to oversee and sanitize each space.

Some funding for the program comes from Special Service Area 27, but it will mostly be supported by sponsorships and tax-deductible donations. Visitors are also encouraged to leave a $10 donation if they use the space.

Last month, a stretch of Broadway Avenue from Belmont to Diversey was closed for two weekends, allowing for restaurants to expand their outdoor dining into the streets during peak hours.

Groups of people who didn’t follow social-distancing guidelines or ignored open alcohol container rules were reported during the first days of the Broadway event. But Maureen Martino, executive director of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, said they had a handle on things by the end of the first weekend.

“We’ve got it all down now and learned we had to be really strict that this is a dining event and cannot be a festival,” Martino said at the time. “There’s a lot of pressure on us being the first outdoor dining closure to get it right so others can learn from this, and I hope we made the neighborhood proud.”

Balmoral Avenue near Clark Street in Andersonville also began closing to traffic late last month to allow for expanded outdoor dining.

Three Clark Street restaurants — Replay, Hamburger Mary’s and Vincent — received an expanded outdoor dining permit from the city, allowing them to convert the street into socially distanced patio seating.

Balmoral Avenue near Clark Street is closed to traffic for expanded outdoor dining for the Replay, Hamburger Mary’s and Vincent restaurants in the Andersonville neighborhood on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

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

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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