'People Want To Be Out': Suburban Restaurants Make Changes To Allow For Outdoor Dining

Jennifer Keiper
June 03, 2020 - 1:31 pm
outdoor dining

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago restaurant goers get their turn to hit some of their favorite restaurants Wednesday as the city enters the latest reopening phase. It’s something that suburban patrons have been doing since last weekend. 

Restaurants have been ironing out the kinks, and settling into al fresco dining in the early days of the state’s Phase 3 reopening.

In these first days of welcoming the public to sit-down, albeit outside, Angelo Lollino, owner of Massa Café Italiano in Elmwood Park said "we've had great crowds," and they’ve been fortunate because since the shelter-in-place order started in March "in the beginning, we probably furloughed 82 people. I did my best to keep everyone on, and once I saw that we were going to be okay and get the support from the community, I immediately brought those people back on."

Lollino said he’s feeling confident about the state moving forward with Phase 4 later this month, allowing in-house dining with restrictions. 

Nick Lombardo of Rosebud Restaurant Group said "people want to be out."

Lombardo also said the stay at home order gave them time to rework the menu to focus on the signature items, and "as far as what we have done maintenance wise, at all of our locations, the little things have been fixed."

When asked about concerns about weather conditions, now that they have to rely on outdoor dining, Lombardo said only at some of their locations "for example, Rosemont, we have our retractable roof that could help cover some of that rain. We do have large umbrellas at all of locations, fans at most of them. We also have misters, so that helps with the heat."

Lombardo said guests are told, when making a reservation that the reservation depends on weather.