Monday, August 22, 2011

City of Winston-Salem Considers Pushing Back Sidewalk Dining Time

Winston-Salem Considers Pushing Back Sidewalk Dining Curfew

Story from Fox8 News- Brent Campbell Reporting

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP)— The outdoor eating trend in downtown Winston-Salem is becoming so popular that city leaders are looking to change some ordinances.

With city ordinances written more than 10 years ago, restaurants aren't currently permitted to serve outside later than 10 p.m. However, restaurant owners are telling city leaders that people are demanding to be served outside much later than 10 p.m.

"Right now I would say during good weather we are talking about 10 to 15 percent of the late crowd," Souphab Daoheang, a downtown Thai restaurant owner, said.

As downtown grows into a major late-night destination, many restaurant owners said not offering sidewalk dining is a huge drawback for attracting customers.

"Right now the population in nighttime. I've been here 9 years and the past the population has tripled in traffic," Daoheang said.

Out of the more than 20 restaurants currently seated in Winston-Salem's downtown core there are less than five that do not offer outside dining. Will Kingery said that was one reason he picked Fourth Street as the home of his new crab shack.

"You can go to the Hanes Mall area and it's compartmentalized. Downtown, you got mix of people. Great people watching and lots of fun," Kingery said.

The city's Business Development office is recommending the city extends the hours. Members of the city's restaurant roundtable want the outside dining curfew pushed back to 2 a.m., 7 days a week.

The city is hosting two public meetings about the changes on Wednesday. One meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. and the other is scheduled for 6 p.m. Both meetings will take place at the Stuart Municipal Building.

The city council is expected to vote on the matter in September. Currently, there has been no real opposition. --------

Click here to visit the City of Winston-Salem website for more information.

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