Seattle restaurants get creative in closing down streets, opening up space
With COVID-19 continuing to cause problems for local restaurants and bars, many are finding creative ways to attract customers.
That includes Capitol Hill’s Optimism Brewing, which has increased its offerings two-fold: First, with an indoor work-from-home space open to the public, providing internet access, outlets, spaced-out tables, a pint of beer, and unlimited sparkling water, all for $15.
Customers can book their work space inside the brewery online, or walk in beginning at 9 a.m. every day.
Optimism also recently took advantage of a new city ordinance allowing restaurants and bars to temporarily expand their outdoor spaces. The brewery acquired a permit that allowed it to close off a side-street adjacent to its building to build a patio space. The outdoor seating effectively doubled its capacity.
Other restaurants and bars have followed suit, including in Columbia City, where a space known simply as “The Patio” now provides community seating for the neighborhood’s restaurants on half a block of street space on South Ferdinand off Rainier Avenue.
Middle Eastern restaurant Mamnoon also got a permit for a partial closure of Melrose Avenue to cordon off a section of outdoor seating just off the sidewalk. The owner of the restaurant is awaiting approval on a full closure of the street for a larger expansion, Eater Seattle reports.
The updated permitting process came about in June, providing more flexibility for Seattle restaurants trying to reopen in Phase 2 of Gov. Inslee’s Safe Start plan. The permit — valid for six months — lets restaurants expand their outdoor seating capacity to include additional sidewalk and parking space areas for customers. It’s also available to food trucks, as well as retail to allow for additional space outside in front of shops to display merchandise.