By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – The city of Denver approved the first communal outdoor dining area in the city. The Glenarm Patio will open at 500 16th Street.

Restaurants include Lime, Maggiano’s Little Italy, 5280 Burger and Hard Rock Cafe.

(credit: Denver)

“You try to take good and bad you have a pause you can get a little break after all these years, but ultimately you’ve got to make a living,” Curt Sims said.

Sims is the owner of Lime, located on the third floor for of the Denver Pavilions. He says the COVID-19 closure lasted much longer than anyone anticipated.

Now with the green light to open their doors again he says business has changed.

“Most of our business is the theater, the Convention Center and tourists so they didn’t leave much,“ he joked.

(credit: CBS)

The move to communal dining would allow the food establishments to expand their serving capacity while practicing safe health guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ashley Kilory, the Executive Director of Excise & Licenses in Denver says while they have allowed more than 100 patio expansions since COVID-19 this is a first of its kind.

“Typically under state liquor laws a patio has to be adjacent to the premise, but this is a new tool under state law that allows a patio to be as far away as 1,000 feet,” she said.

Kilroy says they are doing everything they can to give restaurants as much space as possible to get business back to some version of normal.

“It allows for greater social distancing, it allows customers to feel safe, and enjoy the great outdoors and also for the restaurants to expand capacity and serve more customers and get their employees back to work,” Kilroy said.

(credit: CBS)

Sims says the new space will allow for more exposure and new opportunity, but the work behind the scenes to make it happen has brought new hope for the future.

“I’ve been doing this a long time in this town and I’ve never seen anything like it, like it’s got to get done because we don’t have a choice,” Sims said.

Denver is also taking applications for temporary outdoor expansion for restaurants and bars. City officials released the following updated data on that program:

  • 227 applicants have submitted complete applications
  • 146 have been approved to operate
  • 65% of applicants that have submitted all required materials have been approved to operate.

Any restaurants interested in communal dining can send an email of their interest to tempexpand@denvergov.org.

Last week, Denver approved some downtown streets to close for outdoor dining.

RELATED: Restaurants Expand Patios As Denver Asks For Increased Occupancy

Karen Morfitt

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