COCONUT GROVE, FLA. (WSVN) – – The City of Miami has created a program where some Coconut Grove restaurants can apply for a permit to expand their outdoor seating into the middle of roadways or nearby parking spaces.
Seats have been in short supply at Barracuda Taphouse and Grill since indoor seating was banned amid COVID-19 concerns.
Now, Lee Kessler’s dining room has moved into the middle of Fuller Street, which has been shut down as part of a pilot program to help restaurants stay in business.
“We’re still building and painting picnic tables,” Lee Kessler said. “Every seat counts, so this allowed us to survive.”
City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell said giving restaurants a chance to apply for a permit to move seating into outdoor spaces that had other uses before will help restaurants survive.
“We’re trying to balance safety with allowing businesses to survive,” he said. “A new permitting process was introduced by both the county and the city to allow for outdoor dining. They can either close the street off, or they can use the parallel parking spaces in front of their establishment if it’s safe, so this particular restaurant opted for the full street closure. The permit was granted, and now, we are helping them with the build out.”
The build out, with the help of the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District, aims to spruce up the space and create a more appetizing atmosphere.
The work will begin following a Thursday vote by the Miami City Commission that will extend the program through the end of January 2021.
“If it was not for this outdoor seating, now would be the time, for the first time, I would even consider having to temporarily close,” Kessler said.
The city’s program will allow more pink tables to be placed on the street and gives a neighborhood favorite a chance to adapt to the county’s New Normal guidelines with outdoor seating.
Other businesses have taken advantage of the city’s program. In nearby Commodore Plaza, restaurants have received permits to use some of the street parking for new dining spaces.
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