During the precious few months in which Minnesotans can comfortably dine and imbibe al fresco, outdoor patios become a hot commodity.
And at least eight Minneapolis restaurants and breweries are currently seeking permission to add or expand their outdoor spaces.
A public hearing, to be held Tuesday before the city’s Department of Community Planning and Economic Development, will include requests from Smack Shack, World Street Kitchen, Fulton Beer, Day Block Brewing Company, Louie’s Wine Dive, Lake & Irving Restaurant & Bar, Yogurt Lab, and Agra Culture Kitchen & Press to expand outside.
Smack Shack—which opened in the North Loop neighborhood last year as an outgrowth of a lobster-roll-peddling food truck—already operates an outdoor seating area. But it's now hoping to add 40 more seats at 20 two-top tables near the entrance of an adjoining alley, as well as six high-top tables on the Washington Avenue side of the property. That would bring maxiumum outdoor capacity to 144 guests.
World Street Kitchen, another brick-and-mortar follow-up to a successful food truck, wants to remove some landscaping near its restaurant in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood and replace it with a “sidewalk café.” Plans call for adding 10 tables with 20 chairs.
Craft brewer Fulton Beer, meanwhile, is aiming to double the size of its existing outdoor space, which has become a big draw for baseball fans prior to Twins games, due in part to the taproom’s proximity to Target Field. Fulton's current patio has 48 seats.
Cofounder Ryan Petz told Twin Cities Business that the existing patio will remain as is, but the brewery plans to enclose an area in front of the taproom, where it will add new tables. It will cover about 1,000 square feet and be at the ground level, rather than elevated like the current patio. Plans submitted to the city call for 50 more seats, and the added space would boost Fulton's outdoor capacity to 168 guests.
Petz said that currently, guests cannot carry their beer from the brewery to food trucks, which park on the property's edge. That would change with the new enclosed outdoor space. (See a sketch of Fulton’s proposal below this story.)
Fulton is also in the process of completing a second brewery location in Northeast Minneapolis to increase brewing capacity. “We are probably within a week of our first brews” at the new facility, Petz said. “Things are starting to fall together over there too.”
Day Block Brewing, one of the newer additions to the Twin Cities’ booming craft beer scene, plans to add about 270 square feet of outdoor space behind its building on Washington Avenue. The brewpub plans to add four tables with 16 seats, and to have a total patio capacity of 38 guests.
Louie’s Wine Dive on Lake Street, meanwhile, aims to expand its existing outdoor seating by adding six tables with a dozen seats to its sidewalk space on Aldrich Avenue.
Lake & Irving Restaurant & Bar, located at 1513 West Lake Street, aims to add five tables with 20 seats on the nearby sidewalk, as well as 12 tables with two dozen seats on a separate outdoor patio. The restaurant also hopes to add a 10-foot-by-10-foot stage inside its restaurant, which could accommodate up to five musicians.
Yogurt Lab, at 2955 Girard Ave South, hopes to add seven tables outdoors, with 28 chairs. Lastly, Agra Culture Kitchen & Press at 2939 Girard Ave South plans to add sidewalk seating, including nine tables with 30 chairs.
Linda Roberts, assistant manager of business licensing for the city, said that there's nothing remarkable about the number of businesses currently seeking expanded outdoor space. Rather, it's just reflective of a growing number of Twin Cities businesses in general, and the fact that companies typically think about adding outdoor space in the summer.
Below is a sketch of Fulton's planned patio expansion, as submitted to the city. Find each of the applicants' submitted plans here. After Tuesday's hearing, the proposals will go before the full city council.