Cincinnati, Lebanon restaurants working to finalize plans for in-street dining

Restaurants working quickly to take advantage of street closures

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The corner of 15th Street and Vine Street is being closed by the City of Cincinnati so restaurants can have outdoor dining.

The city is expected to provide more information on the partial street closures Thursday morning, but the exact plan of how this is going to look is still up in the air.

Bridget Lieb is the owner of Sacred Beast, which sits at that very corner of 15th and Vine.

The upscale diner already has an outdoor patio but before the street closures, social distancing requirements would limit them to four tables if they were to open the patio up.

“That’s not really enough to be open,” Lieb said.

That is why they’re excited the street is closing so they can increase their capacity in a safe way.

But it’s happening fast, Lieb says, so the restaurant won’t be able to take advantage of the first day of street closures.

"We have to organize our furniture, get a plan,” Lieb said.

Part of that plan includes training their staff on COVID-19 safety. Once they are, they’ll be able to take the food straight from the kitchen to the tables outside.

Cincinnati isn’t the only city in the region helping out by closing off streets. Lebanon is closing down Mulberry Street on Friday at 3 p.m. through Sunday at 8 p.m.

Lebanon closing Mulberry Street on weekends to allow for extra seating

“We said, ‘What creative way can we create a bigger dining footprint, outdoor footprint for the community using social distancing and all of the mandates that have been put in place?’” Lebanon Mayor Amy Brewer asked.

Brewer points out Lebanon also has a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, which allows you to take drinks from place to place outside using a designated cup.

Christian Kallenberger is the manager of Roll On In in Lebanon. According to him, they’ve lost a lot of their business since the closure.

“Probably five to eight thousand dollars,” Kallenberger said.

Lebanon will be closing the street from Friday to Sunday for the foreseeable future.

Even with a limited number of days, Kallenberger says it will allow them to play catch-up, “That should compensate really well for what we’ve lost.”

Patti Jacobs, owner of Doc’s Place, agrees. The restaurant isn’t right on a street closure, but it’s close.

“I think it’ll be great for us,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs says the restaurant will put 10 tables in the street, each six feet apart.

“We are really excited," Brewer said. “The community has really supported us through this whole pandemic.”

Meanwhile, in Over-the-Rhine, the owner of Aladdin’s Eatery was finalizing the layout of her outside space for Friday.

“The rain is really what’s going to be the deterrent. I think Monday looks good though, so that will be beneficial for the week moving forward,” owner Carla Chalkley said.

The restaurants FOX19 NOW spoke with told us strictly outside dining isn’t perfect, but they’re grateful to be allowed to serve people in-person again.

While they’re focused on reopening, every restaurant says they are also focused on doing it safely.

“Everyone staying safe is the most important thing we can do right now,” Lieb said.

No parking signs have been put up in Cincinnati on the streets that will be closed to give drivers a warning that they need to park somewhere else before Friday.

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