Grosse Pointe City makes outdoor dining permanent

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 27, 2020

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GROSSE POINTE CITY — With COVID-19 forcing restaurants to reduce capacity, outdoor dining has been a lifeline for many local eateries, enabling them to stay afloat by being able to seat and serve additional customers.

With colder temperatures, outdoor dining might not seem like a feasible option anymore, but some restaurants around the country are experimenting with heated tents and igloos to keep patrons comfortable in the chill. Grosse Pointe City, which was one of the first cities in Michigan to permit restaurants and other businesses to use public areas like parking spaces and sidewalks for dining, is now trying to make sure that these businesses can continue to take advantage of outdoor space even during the fall and winter.

During an Oct. 19 Grosse Pointe City Council meeting by Zoom, the council voted unanimously in favor of permanently allowing restaurants to use parking areas and sidewalks for the sale of food and beverages, with the City issuing annual permits for that purpose.

City Manager Pete Dame said City Kitchen, located in the Village, had already asked the City for permission to continue to offer outdoor service past the Oct. 31 expiration of their state-issued authorization. Earlier this year, he said City Kitchen constructed a platform atop parking spaces behind the restaurant, on Kercheval Place, to create an outdoor dining area.

“I think the experiment has gone very well, particularly for City Kitchen,” Dame said of the use of nonstandard spaces for outdoor service.

City officials agreed that the concept was a good idea.

“I think it’s a no-brainer,” City Councilman Donald Parthum Jr. said before he voted in favor of it.

“I totally agree with that,” City Councilman Daniel Williams said in response to Parthum’s observation.