As cold air moves in, Raleigh restaurants with outdoor dining decide how to adjust amid COVID-19 restrictions

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- With North Carolina officially in Phase 3 of its reopening, restaurants are still trying to find ways to keep diners happy and their bottom line in the black.

The City of Raleigh told ABC11 that dozens of restaurants have applied for temporary outdoor seating licenses to accommodate guests as indoor dining comes with capacity restrictions.

One of those restaurants is Sushi O in Raleigh on Glenwood Avenue.

"It doesn't matter if it's 10 customers or whatever," said owner John Tang, responding to how his restaurant is dealing with the pandemic. "We have to work hard to make it happen."


The City of Raleigh is allowing businesses with a temporary outdoor seating license a 30-day grace period at no-cost when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

"The bottom line is to get some outdoor seating because in North Carolina -- people like to sit outside," Tang said.

He has thought about getting outdoor heaters and an awning to help with keeping guests warm. In the past, only having a heater has proved to be insufficient.

"The heater itself without any barrier to block this heat, the wind just blows it away," he said.

The City of Raleigh lists the following businesses as having applied for extended seating:

  • Armadillo Grill
  • The Flying Biscuit
  • O'Malley's Tavern
  • Gonza Tacos and Tequila (Lead Mine Rd.)
  • Buffalo Brothers (Capital Blvd.)
  • Caffe Luna
  • Burial Beer Co.
  • Jolie Restaurant
  • Pelagic Beer & Wine
  • Zambrero
  • Oak Steakhouse Raleigh
  • Cheeni Chai + Coffee + Tiffin
  • Mofu Shoppe
  • The Big Easy
  • Sushi O
  • Whiskey Kitchen
  • Market Hall
  • The Pit
  • Irregardless Café
  • North Street Beer Station
  • Morning Times
  • Bittersweet
  • Capital Club 16
  • Garland/Kings/Neptunes
  • Crank Arm Brewing
  • Raleigh Raw
  • Cha House Raleigh
  • Iris Coffee Lab
  • Paddy O'Beers
  • Pelagic Beer & Wine
  • Global Village Organic Coffee
  • State of Beer
  • Clockwork
  • Isaac Hunter's Tavern
  • Coglin's Raleigh
  • Foundation
  • Legends

Staff at Whiskey Kitchen in Raleigh told ABC11 they have yet to decide how they will handle outdoor dining when cold air moves in.

Tang hopes to have a solution to the soon-to-come low temperatures.

"Timeline, I'm hoping a month," said Tang. "Money wise, I'm not sure. Hopefully we can get it before it gets really cold. So that way we would be able to utilize the outside."

Indoor dining at Sushi O has currently been suspended.

"No snow, above 60 (degrees), would be nice," laughed Tang. "In a perfect world, yes. But you know that's not going to happen. It's going to get cold."
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