BOSTON (CBS) – The days of dining on streets and sidewalks in Boston are about to end. “We love it,” said Susan Redgate, while she was dining on Newbury St. Friday. “It’s really not that different than going skiing and eating outside on the deck,” said her friend Elizabeth Mcloughlin. They were bundled in down jackets and hats.
The city extended its program allowing restaurants to take over swaths of public sidewalks and streets for outdoor dining. But cocktails by heat lamps at restaurants without their own private patio space ends December 1. “We’ll miss it a lot,” said Joanne Fiore, who’s a server at Al Dente in the North End.
“Other cities, there are places where you can dine outside all year round,” said Ainsley Onstott, as she ate lunch outside with her puppy. “Just stay bundled up and enjoy it,” added Cara Pratt.
The Massachusetts Restaurant Association agrees. A spokesperson said the group would like to see outdoor dining extended through winter, but also says some cities are concerned it would be difficult for snow removal.
Restaurant owner Joe Pagliuca said if it were a mild winter, he would like the option. “I would love it, sure. We would love it,” he said.
But he says the outdoor equipment is expensive, and without financial help from the government, he says the few customers willing to brave the cold, probably wouldn’t save the hard-hit restaurant industry. “Right now we’re only working at 20-25%. What is that? I got bills. I have a payroll…taxes,” he said.