Business Owners Seeing Red After Diner en Blanc
By Noel McLaren
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of Philly’s busiest streets is feeling quite the hangover from pop up dinner party, Diner en Blanc. It’s an instant party where people are given short notice to show up with their own food, table and chairs.
Broad Street businesses say they lost customers who didn’t feel like dealing with the main artery’s surprise shut down.
“We did have some complaints about the log jam getting in here,” said Ruth’s Chris Steak House general manager Burnie Gaeta.
Gaeta says he didn’t learn about Diner en Blanc until under an hour before it closed Broad St. between Pine and Chestnut.
“No one had any knowledge so it was a little surprising to all of us to say the least,” he said.
To make matters worse, neighbors say the event was served as a rush hour special.
“My entire block was shut down where I work,” said neighbor, Gavin Cole. “The entire block was blocked off everywhere it was just impossible to get around.”
It’s a frustration shared across social media. Councilman Jim Kenney took to Twitter condemning the poor planning of the surprise supper.
He tells Eyewitness News he’s sending a letter to organizers telling them, “I please ask that the impact on local business be given greater importance before the city signs off on an event that will have a serious deleterious effect on good, tax-paying businesses.”
Most businesses support the idea of dinner promoting downtown, they just ask for more prep time in the future.
“Just a little heads up,” said Gaeta. “We know about the mystique about it being secret point but it could have caused more problems than it did last night.”
Diner organizers say they reached out to local businesses about a week before the event telling them about street closures, but they didn’t specify that it would be Diner en Blanc.
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