SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

May 17, 2013

Our view: Outdoor dining trial a good idea for Beverly

Here’s hoping the Beverly City Council approves a proposal to allow a handful of restaurants to offer full-service sidewalk dining on a trial basis. If successful, it would be another boost for a blossoming downtown.

Under current city rules, restaurants and coffee shops can set up tables on the sidewalk, but customers are forced to order their food inside and bring it outside themselves. The proposed new rules, inspired by a recent community survey conducted by Beverly Main Streets, would allow customers to be waited on outside and also be served liquor. (The restaurants would also need approval from the city’s Licensing Board and the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.)

“It should be a cool thing for Beverly,” Prides Osteria owner Michael Magner told reporter Paul Leighton. Magner’s restaurant is one of three establishments willing to take part in the pilot program, which would begin June 1. “If we could get people on Cabot and Rantoul streets sitting out, it would be great for the city.”

The measure already has the support of council President Paul Guanci, who said, “You see how it works in Boston. You see how it works in Salem. You see how it works in Newburyport. We’re always compared to Newburyport because we have a harbor. We’re getting there, step by step.”

The next step would be for the full council to give the pilot its backing at its upcoming meeting Monday night.

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