In Mattituck, they’re planning to shut down Love Lane to traffic. Riverhead is looking to host a ‘Dine on 25’ series. Greenport is already setting up tables in the street and looking to add picnic tables to Mitchell Park.
As local municipalities and business groups look to jumpstart the local economy, restaurant goers will have plenty of fun new ways to dine on the North Fork this summer.
Our colleagues at The Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review have been reporting on the changes being made to expand outdoor dining as restaurants attempt to navigate density restrictions brought on by COVID-19.
Here’s what we’ve learned from their reporting.
Greenport Village temporarily closed Front Street between First and Main Friday to allow for an expansion of outdoor dining through “parklets” where tables and chairs can be set up for food and drink service/
The Greenport Village Business Improvement District first publicly proposed the plan to village officials in May and has spent recent weeks testing it out.
Several businesses that weren’t a part of the test run inquired about being a part of it and so more parklets were set up this week.
So far restaurants like Agave, Tikal, Sakura, Lucharitos, Crazy Beans, Frisky Oyster and Claudio’s have been able to utilize the spaces.
Retailers on Front and Main streets also have the option of bringing goods outside.
While it’s been done in phasees on weekends to date, the BID’s long-range goal is to have the closure in place, seven days per week through October, president Rich Vandenburgh said.
The village also is in the process of placing 12 picnic tables in Mitchell Park as a common eating area.
“In the end, what we’re trying to do is help out merchants, as well as to provide greater opportunities for people to have space to move around,” Mr. Vanderburgh said. “I’m very encouraged and optimistic that this is something that will work.”
Southold Town approved closing a portion of Love Lane in Mattituck to traffic on weekends in an effort to create additional space for businesses to operate.
The road will be shut down between Main Road and Pike Street from noon each Saturday until 6 a.m. Monday through Oct. 31. It is expected to start next weekend.
Councilman Bob Ghosio said the highway department plans to order barricades to safely block off traffic and put up signs at the Love Lane intersections at Lane both Main Road and Pike Street.
Mattituck Chamber of Commerce president Dave Perrin said the road closures will help businesses on Love Lane while promoting public health as social distancing guidelines remain in place.
“The reality is we cannot practice true social distancing in a safe environment on a sidewalk,” he said.
Many businesses on Love Lane were able to expand offerings last week as Phase 2 of the NY Forward plan began, paving the way for outdoor dining and an expansion of retail.
“It’s going well but obviously everyone is feeling it out, getting their bearings straight,” Mr. Perrin said. “It’s a completely different way of doing business.”
Unlike First Fridays on Love Lane, where outside vendors come in, the closures will be used for existing businesses to operate directly outside their shops.
“Alive on 25” won’t be happening this year, but “Dine on 25” might.
The Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association is hoping to replace the popular outdoor event in downtown Riverhead with a more laid back version.
Alive on 25 is not going on as it has in the past, so rather than just cancel the event and disappointing people, we wanted to see what we can do to replace Alive on 25 with something different,” said Kristy Verity, the BIDMA’s executive director. “So we came up with the idea of ‘Dine on 25.’”
“Dine on 25” would involve closing Main Street to traffic, but instead of having out of town vendors, it would be for downtown businesses only. Downtown restaurants could place outdoor seating on Main Street and serve customers there.
Reservations would be needed, according to BIDMA President Steve Shauger.