LAKEWOOD, Ohio — On Thursday night, the Lakewood Planning Commission is set to vote on requests from eight restaurants in the city to extend their outdoor dining areas.
On May 21, Lakewood City Council unanimously approved an ordinance allowing restaurants to use parking lots, the public right of way and on street parking. The members of council approved the temporary seating until Oct 1.
But, before guests can be seated, it must be approved by the planning commission. According to the ordinance, the planning commission can approve additional outdoor seats over the 30 seat threshold, if the restaurant can show that they can adequately comply with all State of Ohio Department of Health orders, can maintain parking for the establishment without over burdening nearby residential neighborhoods and that the seats and activity will not negatively impact residential neighborhoods.
"The city of Lakewood and their council members have been nothing shy of fantastic for us," said Jessica Parkison, the co-owner of Salt.
Salt is one of eight restaurants that applied to expand its outdoor patio. The restaurant just reopened indoor dining on June 1. Parkison said in order to comply with state guidelines she and her staff had to reconfigure their entire dining room.
"We know the governor is allowing up to 10 people to sit and dine. Here, we're only allowing up to six. We've lost about 33 seats inside the dining room and 11 seats on our original patio," the co-owner said.
Other restaurants applying for the expanded seating include: Melt Bar and Grill, LBM, El Carnicero, Cleveland Vegan, Harry Buffalo, Mars Bar and Mahall's Twenty Lanes.
Under the ordinance, the extended outdoor dining areas must close by 10 p.m. But, the planning commission can set an earlier closing time based on the unique aspects of each application.
Parkison said she's confident the planning commission will vote in favor of the seating.
"I mean we're all very excited about it. Especially because, we're hearing a lot of people want to be outside dining and not inside dining. They feel more safe, more comfortable outside. So for us it was just giving our customers and guests more options," she said.
The vote is scheduled for Thursday night at 7 p.m.