Not just Downtown: Restaurants around region taking advantage of outdoor seating

Restaurants set to serve outside beginning Friday

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Restaurants are able to offer outdoor dining to patrons beginning Friday, per Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

In Downtown Cincinnati and Over-The-Rhine, that means lane closures, large barricades and considerable ballyhooing.

In the suburbs, plans are more variable.

In Lebanon, for example, the city is leveraging its Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area to draw customers to its Mulberry Street restaurants.

Meanwhile, in Wyoming, Tela Bar and Kitchen, a popular gastropub concept, is putting tables in the sidewalk.

Tela already has a patio, but it only accommodates six tables normally, so the City of Wyoming stepped in to allow the sidewalk dining.

The city is also lending Tela several blue tables to help increase seating capacity.

Customers can expect to see the restaurant’s staff in masks and gloves Friday, which is just one of several safety measures they’re taking to keep people healthy.

Tela’s owner, Doug Nawrocki, told FOX19 NOW the normal capacity of his restaurant is about 100. Even with the city’s help, its capacity Friday will still only be around 40, he explained.

“It means it’s still going to be a struggle," said Nawrocki.

The struggle could be magnified by the weekends weather forecast.

Tracy Schwegmann, spokesperson for the Banks, admitted as much in speaking about its decision not to add extra outside dining space for riverfront restaurants the first weekend of Cincinnati’s so-called ‘Street Seats’ program.

“The weather is a factor,” Schwegmann said. “We are forecasted for some storms.”

It’s a concern for Tela as well; they only have four umbrellas for their patio tables. Still, for this restaurant that’s only just gotten by on the federal government’s PPE payments, not opening Friday doesn’t seem to be an option.

“You just don’t have control over that,” Nawrocki said referencing the weather. “So we’re going to have to roll with that, and whatever happens, happens.”

He’s playing it as safe as possible. Even when restaurants are allowed to have indoor dining his restaurant won’t do that right away.

“I don’t want to jump into everything all at one time,” said Nawrocki.

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