More SB restaurants applying for sidewalk cafe permits

Published: Apr. 12, 2016 at 6:52 PM EDT
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With summer on the horizon, more restaurants downtown are looking for sidewalk cafe permits and the city is happy to give them out when applicable.

During the Board of Public Works meeting, the board awarded four permits to area restaurants. Some are familiar with outdoor seating, Fiddler's Hearth, South Bend Brew Works and Woochi. However, there was one new addition, Tapastrie, which has the same owners as Fiddler's Hearth.

One restaurant was denied their request for a sidewalk cafe permit... for now.

"We were expecting some bumps here and there because it's our first time."

Juan Duran, one of the owners of Cinco 5 is not allowed to have outdoor seating at his restaurant because of a permanent trash can and sign which would block the right of way. According to the city, if outdoor seating were there, the sidewalk would not be ADA compliant and could cause issues with pedestrians walking.

"The issue is we always need to make sure we have accessible sidewalks," Eric Horvath, Executive Director of Public Works said. "And that they're accessible for everyone. We need to make sure we meet the requirements of the ADA and make sure we can get pedestrians moving through those sidewalks as well. There are requirements we keep a minimum amount of space to let people move."

But both sides want to get something done to make for a more inviting downtown.

"We love to see it," Horvath said. "It provides activity downtown and goes to that whole sense of place making we're trying to encourage downtown."

"We don't even know how to tackle this," Duran said. "So we're like, whatever you give us, even if it's just a couple of chairs. Whatever we can get away with, we'll go with that."

The city says it is trying to find out who should be responsible for the removal of the trashcan and sign. If it's for public concern, the city would take care of the costs but if it's personal reasons, the restaurant would be responsible.