A new dining trend is advancing to Maine: artery food, literally.
Restaurants may anon serve commons and drinks on patios that booty the abode of artery parking spots or added attainable spaces alfresco of their accustomed dining rooms. The trend, able-bodied accustomed in added U.S. cities, was fabricated attainable by a new law acceptance restaurants to serve booze in areas not physically affiliated to their buildings.
Biddeford and Westbrook are assertive to become the aboriginal Maine cities to accord a blooming ablaze to on-street dining.
“It’s absolutely avant-garde and a abundant way to accomplish burghal added walkable and accessible,” said Biddeford restaurant buyer Stacy Cooper, who is because abacus alfresco dining abreast Biscuits & Company.
The change in accompaniment law, able Aug. 1, allows businesses to serve booze in a cordoned-off attainable breadth that is not physically affiliated to the architecture breadth the business has an on-premises license. Previously, confined and restaurants could alone serve central the architecture or in an absorbed alfresco area.
In Biddeford, that could beggarly restaurants ambience up acting patios on structures congenital on parking spaces forth burghal streets. This month, the Burghal Council accustomed a pilot affairs for this summer to analysis the idea, although it’s not bright if any restaurants will accept time to accessible a new alfresco amplitude this season.
Westbrook will additionally booty advantage of the law change, with affairs to redesign an underutilized accessible amplitude off Main Artery for use as a dining patio by assorted businesses. Legends Rest Taproom will be the aboriginal Westbrook restaurant to booty advantage of the law change back it opens an alfresco basement breadth this summer on the bend of the river airing abutting to the Presumpscot River.
“It makes it a active downtown, and that’s absolutely what we’re appetite for,” said Daniel Stevenson, Westbrook’s bread-and-butter development director.
The abstraction of these alfresco dining platforms is new to Maine, but they are acclimated in added communities above the country and in Canada. In Duluth, Minnesota, platforms – some covered, some accessible – sit forth streets in the downtown. Agnate structures accept been congenital in Portland, Oregon, New York Burghal and Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
The abstraction of bringing new options for alfresco spaces originated in Biddeford, breadth Burghal Councilor Victoria Foley talked with burghal agents about the dining platforms acclimated in cities alfresco Maine. Biddeford’s sidewalks are almost narrow, which banned the options for alfresco tables for the growing cardinal of restaurants downtown. But acceptance those businesses to set up tables further from the restaurants was not an advantage because servers cannot cantankerous over attainable amplitude – such as a sidewalk – while blockage in acquiescence with their liquor licenses.
Sen. Susan Deschambault of Biddeford was approached by burghal admiral about proposing a change in accompaniment law and saw it as an accessible and astute fix to advice bounded businesses booty advantage of the abbreviate summer season. She sponsored L.D. 1738, which was accounting by Stevenson, again the bread-and-butter development administrator in Biddeford.
“The added we looked into the idea, the added it seemed that it was article that was doable,” Deschambault said. “I see it as my little bead in the brazier for bread-and-butter development.”
Stevenson said Westbrook is planning to redesign and clean Westbrook Commons – accepted locally as Blue Note Esplanade – from a accurate esplanade breadth to a amplitude that could be cordoned off for bounded businesses. He envisions dining areas and a date for agreeable performances. Businesses additionally may be able to use accessible spaces forth sidewalks and the river airing to actualize alfresco dining areas to draw in customers, Stevenson said.
“This is a prime archetype of how we could booty areas that are underutilized and absolutely drive bodies appropriate into our downtown,” he said. “This will advice us be added destination-oriented.”
Delilah Poupore, controlling administrator of the Heart of Biddeford, which promotes the downtown, said she is aflame by the law change. Back she aboriginal heard about the proposal, she anon anticipation of the alfresco dining platforms she has apparent in places like Duluth, Minnesota, and Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
“It brings added action and action assimilate the streets. It provides article exciting,” she said.
After the Legislature accustomed the revised law, the Biddeford Burghal Council accustomed authorization changes as allotment of a pilot affairs that runs through October. Businesses that participate would accept to access a $1,000 anniversary admittance from the burghal afterwards cipher administration admiral actuate the amplitude meets assertive standards, including abrogation able allowance for pedestrians and acquiescence with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The alfresco breadth charge be controlled by barriers and accept signs advertence bodies cannot absorb booze above the barriers. The alfresco basement charge be aural 20 anxiety of the restaurant, and an animated belvedere in a parking atom charge be even with the top of the curb.
Biddeford Burghal Manager James Bennett said he has apparent agnate alfresco dining areas set up in Quebec Burghal that are accepted with diners and add to the action of the area.
“We capital to actualize some opportunities for our arising dining arena in the burghal breadth to accept alfresco seating,” he said.
But, Bennett said, Biddeford admiral additionally appetite to booty a alert access to implementing the changes to accomplish abiding they assignment for the city. Because of the mid-summer able date of the new law and the acumen of ambience up an alfresco area, it’s acceptable no Biddeford restaurants will be able to booty advantage of the pilot affairs this year, he said.
City admiral accept been affair with restaurant owners to allocution about options and accept discussed the achievability of accepting acceptance from the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology body the platforms.
Jim Albert and his business partner, Alex Markakis, are aflame about the achievability of giving their barter at CowBell Burger Bar, Martinis on Main and Uncorked Wine Bar the befalling to adore their aliment and drinks alfresco in burghal Biddeford. Markakis said Biddeford “is advancing forth tremendously” with added businesses and bottom traffic, and appreciates that the burghal is cerebration creatively as the restaurant arena grows.
“I anticipate it would advice change the face of downtown,” Albert said. “Obviously there’s some apropos with cartage and bistro up a brace of parking spots, but I anticipate that’s low-impact. The acceptable outweighs the abrogating in this space.”
For now, Albert and Markakis are developing affairs that would be achievable for their businesses.
Rick Robitaille, buyer of Louis Pizza on Alfred Street, additionally is absorbed in the abstraction of alms alfresco dining, but said there are abounding things for restaurant owners to consider. Businesses will accept to advance money in the burghal admittance and in architecture a platform, he said, but additionally accept to anguish about the accountability of bodies walking off with alcohol.
“It’s article to attending at,” he said. “I’m not cardinal it out.”
Like Robitaille, Cooper – the buyer of Biscuits & Company – has been cerebration about the accountability and assurance issues, but that hasn’t put a damper on her action about the possibilities for the burghal business community.
“Even if it doesn’t appear in advanced of our space, I’d adulation to see it appear downtown,” she said. “It’s such a accurate way to accept some adroitness in the average of downtown.”
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