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Saratoga Springs considers allowing in-street dining

Mark Mulholland
Updated: May 26, 2020 06:53 PM
Created: May 26, 2020 06:31 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Hattie's has been drawing big crowds for 80 years, but this year, big crowds aren't allowed.

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Phase 3 reopening will have restaurants reopen at 50 percent capacity.

For small places like Hattie's, that doesn't pay the bills.

"Small capacities just don't work for the numbers. The restaurant margins are tight to begin with," said Darryl Leggieri of Discover Saratoga.

Discover Saratoga and the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce are pushing for the nighttime closing of some streets to keep businesses open during social distancing.

Hattie's owners Beth and Jasper Alexander said the pandemic is forcing restaurants to get creative like never before.

"Our job is to keep this, we call it 'the old girl' going," said Beth about the Phila Street institution.

Hattie's and other restaurants on Phila Street, Beekman Street, and Henry Street are in favor of allowing dining on the sidewalks and streets.

"If you add the street for seating for us, it's the world of difference. It means more staff, it means we can bring almost everybody back. It would really be a game changer for us," said Ryan McFadden, owner of Henry Street Taproom and Flatbread Social.

Leggieri calls street dining just one aspect of keeping Saratoga the summer place to be during an unprecedented time.

"We want to not only put restaurant tables out, but we want to look at entertainment options and make it fun for everybody."

City Accounts Commissioner John Franck says the city can't close Broadway because it's a state highway.

"Anything short of like a one-day type of thing, it just wouldn't work."

However, Franck expects they'll allow for more outdoor dining along Broadway and close down other streets as a way to help ailing restaurants.

"I think it would be like the city's stimulus," he said.

Franck is hopeful any public safety concerns can be addressed and the council can give approval at its June 16 meeting.


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