PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Curbside and sidewalk real estate across Philadelphia have become hot commodities. The streets were jammed with outdoor diners on Saturday night, a silver lining for struggling pubs, bars and other eateries.
Now that Tropical Storm Fay has cleared the area, outdoor dining is back in effect. Patrons in Philadelphia made the best of it on Saturday night.
Finding open spaces for outdoor dining has been a hot commodity in Philly.
“It can be difficult to find a reservation and you really have to plan ahead,” Victoria Ochoa said.
Restaurant owners are doing everything necessary to secure storefront real estate.
Mission Taqueria finally acquired a permit to seat customers on a section of Sansom Street. The restaurant now has 80 tables, compared to the 120 they had upstairs. The owner had to order lights, tablecloths, chairs and everything that comes with outdoor seating. The garage across the street is also helping out, allowing them to use its lower level to seat customers.
“It feels just good to be serving people again. You don’t realize how much you miss the hospitality aspect of your job until everyone’s gone,” owner Daniel McLaughlin said.
All across the city, servers were busy and Saturday’s weather was a stark difference from Friday’s tropical storm.
“We’re actually here on a trip, so I’m happy we were able to catch the good weather,” Francheska Vargas, of Stamford, Connecticut, said.
“I like it because it’s getting me outdoors more, which I wasn’t doing before,” Alexis Desire said.
Perfect timing at freshly minted Spring Garden restaurant Juno. The outdoor venue was set to open on May 1, but a construction delay due to the COVID-19 shutdown pushed the date back.
Anticipation led to a completely booked evening with health and safety as their primary focus, and reservations are spread out.
“I think that people are really understanding in this time with all the practices and policies going on, we have full reservation books and we’re excited what the future brings,” Juno general manager Josh Philips said.
Parc in Rittenhouse Square was just as busy.
“We almost weren’t going to sit and eat because we thought the wait would be so long,” Natalia Villarman said, “but when we saw it was only 30 minutes, we said why not?”
Sure, but Villarman’s friend, Daniel Ajise, wasn’t too excited about sitting outside.
“I like AC, so that’s a downside,” Ajise said, “but in this time, if we’re going to be in a public place, I want it to be outside.”