PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Indoor dining is on hold indefinitely in Philadelphia due to the pandemic, so struggling restaurants are turning to outdoor dining as a solution. So an al fresco dining event is coming to Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood. It’s taking place this Saturday.
The city provided a framework for districts to allow restaurants to expand services into the street. So this Saturday, Northern Liberties is taking advantage of that.
The vibe will not be that of a street festival, but a socially-distanced outdoor dining experience where reservations are recommended.
The urban landscape of Philadelphia has taken on a new look.
“I think it’s personally great, especially for the atmosphere,” said Nicholas Conquest, manager of SET NoLibs.
Dining on sidewalks where seating wasn’t available before and in previously occupied parking spaces are the byproducts of necessity and have given rise to a new term.
“We have a lot of restaurants that have already set up streeteries and they are going to be operating streeteries,” said former Director of the Northern Liberties Business Improvement District Christine Kennedy.
These streeteries will be expanded this Saturday from noon until 8 p.m. as 2nd Street in Northern Liberties is shut down to vehicle traffic.
There will be two barricades — one at the Cross Street and one at 2nd Street.
Called “Easy StrEats,” the meandering of past open street events will be replaced by reservations for sitdown meals.
“Our hope is that it offers an opportunity for our restaurants to be a little bit more busy for a longer period of the day and have more consistent business for a day,” Kennedy said.
East Passyunk Avenue had planned on hosting a similar event this weekend, called Open on the Avenue. But that has been canceled and is pending a new date.
SET, in Northern Liberties, opened up just two weeks ago and they say the ability to move their business even further into the street this weekend could give them the boost they need.
“People don’t really know that we are here yet. As we said before, it’s a brand new joint so we are trying to get a little exposure to try and get people to come and try the food,” Conquest said.
We have heard from lots of people who would like to see some of these outdoor dining changes made more semi-permanent, if you will.
Parking spots are one thing but we were told it’s complicated and pricey to shut down a street even just for a few hours.