PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - It's been talked about for weeks, and now it appears outdoor dining will soon be served up in some Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
Oakland Avenue is likely to be the first outdoor cafe in the city. It's expected to soon be closed to traffic, with tables and diners taking the place of cars.
"The idea is expanding seating, expanding tables. We want to give customers safety, so spreading the tables apart, spreading the mobility so people can walk safer," Georgia Petropoulos of Oakland Business Improvement says.
When it comes to outdoor dining, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto wants it, the governor gave it the go-ahead to begin June 5 and restaurants say they need it. Outdoor cafes are a way to give struggling restaurants some much-needed business and to allow diners to eat safely.
"We wanted to pick a street that we could take over without interrupting emergency medical services," says Petropoulos. "That had store fronts, that had restaurants, that fronted it."
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There was talk of shutting down part of Shadyside or Lawrenceville for outdoor dining, but the business owners in those neighborhoods haven't agreed yet. Meanwhile on Oakland Avenue, the outdoor cafe is likely to open in a matter of weeks.
"The property owners are 100 percent behind it. The business owners are 100 percent behind it. The next step was the city," says Petropoulos.
They're still working out details, like how to get emergency vehicles through , and they need an okay from the liquor control board because some of the restaurants serve liquor.
But they are pretty confident that this street will soon become the city's first outdoor cafe and bring some badly-needed business to a ravaged restaurant industry.
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