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Downtown Rochester restaurants gear up for expanded outdoor dining

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) — With warmer days ahead, downtown Rochester restaurants are preparing for expanded outdoor dining.

The city started laying down cement barricades at five downtown restaurants so they can expand their outdoor seating.

This time last year brought fear and uncertainty as the pandemic was still in its infancy, and restaurants were confined to takeout only.

There seems to be a renewed excitement among some of the downtown restaurants this year ahead of the spring and summer months.

“There’s creativity that’s coming out of these businesses,” Rochester Downtown Alliance Senior Director of Placemaking Karli McElroy said. “Some are doing stages for live events. Some are doing beautiful setups that just have flowers, plants and beautiful lighting. They’re really creating these experiences for people to come down, to really enjoy being outside and enjoy socializing.”

The five restaurants that got barricades Thursday were Chester’s Kitchen and Bar, Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria, Cafe Steam and Potbelly Sandwich Shop.

McElroy said the Rochester Downtown Alliance plans on having additional outdoor seating pop up around downtown soon. She said the downtown businesses have gone above and beyond to make sure their customers are comfortable.

McElroy said if other restaurants want to apply for an expanded outdoor seating permit, the Downtown Alliance has made the process to apply easier.

Megan Zemple

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