BOSTON

‘Like a Little Piazza': Customers Taking to Outdoor Dining in Boston's North End

NBC Universal, Inc.

Outdoor dining has arrived in the North End of Boston.

"We love to be out and socialize with the bartenders, the owners, our neighbors," said customer Melissa Luyster. "This is just awesome, I really hope it stays."

Customers were excited Friday evening to enjoy a nice meal European-style.

"Like a little piazza or something," said customer Ben Laub. "You're allowed to get your drinks, eat a little croissant and cheese outside, it's a ton of fun."

Tables are lined up on the street along the sidewalk where cars would normally park.

Caffe Paradiso is one of the roughly 70 restaurants in the North End with permission to set up outside.

"Oh my God, it's very exciting," said Adrian Federico, owner of Caffe Paradiso. "It's fantastic, people love it."

Until now, restaurants have only been allowed to serve takeout, but that wasn't cutting it.

"It's OK, small Band-Aid, but we're still bleeding," said Massimo Tiberi, owner of Arya Trattoria. "You look in the restaurant and all your seats are on the table. It's heartbreaking."

At Modern Pastry, business has been down 90% during the takeout period.

Having customers at tables will help boost the bottom line.

"I'd love to get to 30, 40%," said owner John Picariello. "I'd actually be able to pay some bills."

Restaurant owners hope outdoor dining will become permanent.

"It's unfortunate that we had to wait for a pandemic for something like this to happen," said Picariello. "All over the world, these exist, but North End never had it."

A decision on indoor dining is expected to be made by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker soon.

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