LINCOLN PARK — Restaurants in Lincoln Park and Lakeview are gearing up for another weekend of outdoor dining programs, which block traffic so restaurants can expand dining into the streets.
Robin Hammond, vice president of the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, said the first weekend of its Feast on Lincoln program helped businesses dealing with the financial losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The outdoor dining program allowed 11 restaurants to serve diners on Lincoln Avenue between Wrightwood and Fullerton avenues:
- Broken English Taco Pub, 2576 N. Lincoln Ave.
- DogHaus Biergarten, 2464 N. Lincoln Ave.
- Galit, 2429 N. Lincoln Ave.
- Hops & Curds, 2470 N. Lincoln Ave.
- Lincoln Station, 2432 N. Lincoln Ave.
- Millie’s Supper Club, 2438 N. Lincoln Ave.
- Pita Pit, 2404 N. Lincoln Ave.
- Printer’s Row Coffee Co., 2482 N. Lincoln Ave.
- Prost!, 2566 N. Lincoln Ave.
- Takito Street, 2423 N. Lincoln Ave.
- The Bagelers CoffeeHouse, 2461 N. Lincoln Ave.
“Just being able to serve the equivalent of a full dining room in the street was a huge boost for all our restaurants,” Hammond said. “The restaurants were pleased to welcome their customers back and people really enjoyed the dining.”
Lincoln Avenue’s outdoor dining will return 4-11 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday. It will run for the next five weekends, weather permitting.
Tables will be spread out at least 6 feet apart to comply with social distancing guidelines, face coverings are required when people aren’t eating and appropriate sanitation guidelines will be enforced, Hammond said.
“We want to make sure that this isn’t a street festival,” Hammond said. “It’s not about walking around and drinking. This is about sitting down and enjoying a meal in an environment where you know restaurants are taking precautions.”
Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) — whose office supported the program with the Lincoln Avenue Special Service Area and the Wrightwood Neighbors Association — told Block Club on Wednesday people need to continue following safety guidelines for the outdoor dining programs to succeed.
The Lincoln Park area has seen the largest increase in new COVID-19 infections among people 18–29 years old, city officials said Wednesday.
Smith encouraged customers to “get sharp” and establishments to “get smart about enforcing rules, too.”
“The people who are going to these establishments can be the same reason it’s their last weekend,” Smith said.
Lakeview’s Outdoor Dining
Two outdoor dining spots will pop up for the second weekend in Lakeview, creating shared spaces where customers can enjoy their to-go orders.
Cornelia Avenue will be closed to traffic just east of Southport Avenue for the first spot. Its hours will be:
- 6–10 p.m. Friday
- 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Saturday
- 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sunday
The second dining area will pop up on North Paulina Street between Roscoe and Henderson streets:
- 6–10 p.m. Friday
- noon–10 p.m. Saturday
- noon–9 p.m. 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 Lakeview Chamber of Commerce.
“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.”
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.
The Dine Out On Broadway program will return for another three weekends: July 24–26, Aug. 7–9 and Sept. 11–13, according to the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.
Details on parking and road closures can be found on the chamber’s website.
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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