Streets closing in favor of 'parklets' that give Raleigh diners more outdoor options

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There are all sorts of coffee concoctions at 42 & Lawrence for a good caffeine jolt. Customers would have to get their java to-go before, but now they can sit outside and enjoy their cup of brew.

The coffee shop's new patio opened Wednesday. The company is taking the City of Raleigh up on its offer and received a temporary permit to expand outdoor seating.

"I would say it's pretty much long overdue," 42 & Lawrence Manager Tim Morris said.

Applications are shooting up. There were only two a month ago and now there are 25.

Barriers are up on the street outside of Morning Times on Hargett Street. Three parking spaces have been transformed into a "parklet."

Parklets are extensions added to sidewalks that can provide things like seating, greenery or art.

The Pit Authentic BBQ recently received a permit to close Commerce Place and add picnic tables along that side of the restaurant.

Raleigh Special Events Manager Whitney Schoenfeld said there's another request to close a section of City Market, but that request has not yet been approved.

Businesses will be allowed to use the extra outdoor space for 30 days after the governor lifts restrictions, and the city expect more applications to trickle in for consideration.

"We're happy with the turnout. We even know that more are still in the works and kind of getting their pieces in place to get ready and apply as well," said Schoenfeld.

Morris hopes the change will bring in more revenue since the indoor cafe is closed to the public

"We're definitely seeing low numbers right now in total volume, but we're hoping that once people see that there's a place you can be safe, it's outdoors, you can get that cafe feel," said Morris.

So the takeaway -- more restaurants and cafes are offering outdoor dining. If you feel more comfortable sitting outside, call ahead to inquire or check their social media account.
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