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City initiative opens options for outdoor dining and service

Posted at 11:20 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 23:20:30-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Outdoor dining has become a staple in Western New York as reopening continues into summer. But not every restaurant has been able to take advantage if they didn't have outdoor seating.

The Small Business Social Distancing Initiative offers local restaurants and shops the opportunity to host customers outdoors on lots, sidewalks, and public property. For the three businesses that have already been approved, the process happened pretty quickly.

"The team from the Mayor's office really were great," Osteria 166 owner Nick Pitillo said. "We said here's what we're thinking, here's the map, they said great, and the next day, it was approved."

Pitillo is choosing to wait to start hosting dine-in customers outside until next week. He hopes to pair the revenue from outdoor seating with the 50% capacity indoors that comes with the next phase of reopening.

Belsito, on the other hand, is already serving customers outside. The North Buffalo restaurant has tables for up to six set up on their corner.

"You know, you're shut down, and what you need is help," Belsito co-owner Lou Fasolina said. "And the city's done that."