The Columbus city government recently approved a change in regulations to allow local restaurants to expand their patios and outdoor dining into streets and parking lots, and local eateries have jumped on the opportunity. None have been more eager than Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, who was among the first groups to get approval for patio seating in the parking lane in front of three Short North locations.
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Del Mar SoCal Kitchen and Marcella’s both expanded seating into the High Street parking lane last week. Cameron Mitchell Restaurants plans to offer something similar at Martini Modern Italian in the spring.
“If we can get a few more seats in there, it’s certainly going to help increase our sales,” said CMR president David Miller. “And most importantly, not only does it increase our sales, but it gives our employees more hours and people more opportunity to come back to work.”
According to Miller, Del Mar and Marcella’s saw a 20 percent increase in parties served last weekend. He said patio dining is in extremely high demand, and he is excited to see more Short North restaurants open up outdoor seating under the new rule.
Columbus made the change in outdoor dining rules later than surrounding areas, including Dublin and New Albany, where Cameron Mitchell locations have already expanded seating. Miller said he is glad the city made the decision to give restaurants more space for socially distanced dining.
“I think guests in general want to dine in restaurants. It’s a part of our way of life,” he said. “It’s not just getting a meal; it’s socializing and embracing and connecting.”