KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s a push to make outdoor dining areas in parking spaces a permanent fixture in Kansas City.
In the pandemic, the city allowed businesses to apply for permits to expand outdoor seating to parking spaces.
Crystal Smith, taproom manager at Double Shift Brewing Co, said outdoor seating has help accommodate more customers while following social distancing guidelines.
“I took the time to lay out the tables in as many different formats as I could just to see how we can best utilize our space,” Smith said. “Having the tables outside has basically doubled our capacity.”
But under the current order, this flexibility would end April 19. The Kansas City Council is discussing making this a permanent option for businesses.
Some customers said it’s a great idea.
“Especially for people like ourselves who, at this point in time, still don’t feel comfortable sitting inside with a pandemic. Especially as the weather gets nicer, I think more and more people are going to want to take advantage of that,” Caroline Menges said.
At Double Shift, they hope to look at how they can create more outdoor seating in the future. For now, the tables in the parking lot are working.
“We’re trying to look at a little bit more permanent solution, obviously hoping that this is a permanent change for us and we’ll be able to continue that,” Smith said.
In addition to the parking lot outdoor dining, the city also allows street cafes. This allows business owners to apply for permits to use on-street parking spaces as patios to eat and drink.
Joe Giammanco, co-owner at City Barrel Brewery and Kitchen, said this helps him safely serve more people.
“I think it’s something that helps move Kansas City forward and moves us up. It moves us kind of on the levels that some of the other cities,” Giammanco said. “It moves us into a better direction. If it was permanent and easy, it’d be great. We renewed ours immediately before we even knew whether it was talked about, that it was going to be continued.”
The ordinance to extend outdoor seating program will be discussed at 1:30 p.m. March 31 at the Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee meeting.