Spring Brings Outdoor Dining Back to Restaurants

Spring Brings Outdoor Dining Back to Restaurants

Village Streamlines Process for Temporary Permits

Local restaurants can look forward to increased business in the coming weeks, as warmer weather leads to outdoor seating opportunities. The Village of Northbrook has pledged to work with restaurants on creative outdoor options, including seating in tents, parking lots, and other unconventional spaces.

Chan Yu, Northbrook’s new Deputy Director of Development and Planning Services, is the contact person for restaurants making outdoor dining plans. The department has streamlined the application process for businesses that want to repeat their 2020 arrangements.

“I’ve been trying to keep it as simple as possible because I know there’s a lot going on,” he notes.  “We took out as much language as we could compared to the application from last year. If you’re simply reapplying for the same set-up as last year, we kept it down to one page.”

The new process is appreciated by restaurateurs who are anxious to make arrangements for outdoor tables, seats and tents. Stelios Mitris, Butterfield’s Pancake House & Restaurant, has already submitted his application to bring back 30-40 tables to the parking lot at Sanders Court. “The Village reached out to us by email with the forms, which was great because I wasn’t sure that we would be able to do it again,” says Stelios. “Even though people can sit inside now, we know many of our customers will be wanting to sit outside by May.  We’ll do whatever it takes to keep them comfortable.”

“Outdoor dining has become an essential part of our business,” concurs Linda Rainey, Charlie Beinlich’s Food & Tap. “We were able to complete the Village’s application process easily and we look forward to seeing our customers on the patio as soon as the sun comes out!”

Chan recognizes that restaurants have been hard hit by the pandemic, with an especially heavy impact on restaurant workers. Those challenges require active cooperation from the Village.  “2021 is going to be a buffer year,” he notes. Permanent changes to the permit application process may be considered after things return to normal.

As a newcomer to the Village staff, Chan credits the business community for its cooperative, supportive spirit.  “Business in general is competitive, but Northbrook seems to make a team effort,” he observes.  He also sees the Chamber as a valuable partner as he builds new connections throughout the Village. “The business community is very well-coordinated because of the Chamber’s efforts,” he says. “The Chamber has been so great at helping us reach out to the business community, and the turnaround time has been so fast. I really appreciate what you do for the community.”

Restaurant owners who wish to apply for temporary outdoor dining permits may download the forms below and return them to Chan by email at chan.yu@northbrook.il.us or by fax at (847) 272-5068. You can reach Chan by phone at (847) 664-4057.