Patio dining to now include streets, parking lots, and city sidewalks in Buffalo

Jun 12, 2020

The City of Buffalo is taking a new approach to increase outdoor seating at local restaurants.

Belsito on Hertel Ave. was one business approved for expanded outdoor seating.
Credit Ryan Zunner / WBFO News

Brenden Mehaffy of the city Strategic Planning Office said this streamlined process will allow restaurants to expand their patio dining to areas not usually utilized.

“Allowing businesses in record speed to be able to utilize both streets and sidewalks, and also their own land,” said Mehaffy. “Typically this process it’s important to note could take months, but we are now doing this in a matter of days.”

In the initiative, city planners would go out to applied businesses to photograph and draw up diagrams to expand seating, while still being within the guidelines set forth by the state. Councilmember Joel Feroleto, whose district includes the popular Hertel Strip, said it will speed up economic recovery for restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s over 50,000 people that work in the food service industry [in Buffalo],” said Feroleto. “So having restaurants reopen next week at 50% capacity is nice that they’re reopening, however it’s very important to have restaurants to try and get back to where they we before, and this initiative allows restaurants to serve more people.”  

Twenty-seven restaurants have applied for the expanded seating permit, with three already having been approved. Mehaffy noted the simpler the layout plan, the quicker the approval process will be, with some being approved in as little as 24 hours. Interested business owners can find more info on a new tab on the city’s website called “Re-open Buffalo.”