Capital City eateries are preparing for another season of outdoor dining, which runs from April 1 through November 15.
The Concord City Council recently approved the renewal of temporary expanded outdoor dining, providing restaurant patrons more options for dining in Concord. This program allows restaurants in the downtown area—with a special permit—to use public sidewalks, squares, and parking spaces in front of their businesses to accommodate customers’ tables and chairs. Other restaurants will be using their already established outdoor seating areas.
“We’re really excited about outdoor dining,” said Jessica Martin, executive director of Intown Concord. “A lot of people may not feel safe dining indoors so this gives our restaurants another opportunity to generate some revenue and provide customers with great food and service.”
In addition to outdoor dining, restaurants are taking precautions to ensure visitors feel safe and welcome. This includes mask wearing by employees; daily temperature checks; the installation of plexiglass in ordering areas; hand sanitization centers; increased sanitization of tables and seating areas; offering QR codes instead of physical menus; and ensuring spacing between tables meets the CDC’s guidelines of 6 feet apart.
“We are chomping at the bit for outdoor dining,” said Scott Hoffner of Vibes Gourmet Burgers on Main Street. “I think everybody has been cooped up in the house for too long now for winter. We’re all looking forward to being able to sit along the sidewalk and enjoy a burger and a beer and watch life pass us by in the most pleasant way possible.”
Outdoor dining has become an important aspect of the Downtown Concord economy, giving local restaurants an opportunity to generate revenue safely during the pandemic, while also bringing unexpected positive change.
“Outdoor dining has made the downtown so vibrant,” said Martin. “It’s a really fun and lively atmosphere and everyone is really looking forward to that.”