Dining al fresco: Restaurants reopen outside, with new restrictions

  • A tent in a parking lot beside Fitzwilly’s restaurant that can accommodate 55 diners is open, Monday, June 15, 2020.   STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A new dining area on Boltwood Walk in Amherst, Monday, June 15, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A tent in a parking lot beside Fitzwilly’s restaurant that can accommodate 55 diners is open, Monday, June 15, 2020.   STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Lexi Methot, left, of South Hadley, and Kate Broderick of Enfield sit on concrete barriers on Main Street in Northampton, Monday, June 15, 2020 to eat their lunch from nearby restaurant Local. “It beats eating in the car,” Methot said. Tables have been placed in some spots inside the barriers. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A tent in a parking lot beside Fitzwilly’s restaurant that can accommodate 55 diners is open, Monday, June 15, 2020.   STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A new dining area on Boltwood Walk in Amherst, Monday, June 15, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Cody Henson of Northampton builds a wheelchair ramp inside concrete barriers the city has placed along Main Street, Monday, June 15, 2020. Henson said he volunteered his time for the project. He is originally from Northampton, but had been working in the scene shop where he built sets at The Juilliard School in New York City until his work ended in early March. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jay Czelusniak and his wife, Mikala Hammonds, talk after having dinner outdoors at Spoleto restaurant in Northampton, Thursday, June 11, 2020. He is the owner of Czelusniak Funeral Home in Northampton.  STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Steve Connor, left, and Larry Cervelli lunch at Amanouz Cafe on Main Street in Northampton, Tuesday, June 16, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer 
Published: 6/16/2020 4:22:08 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A double shift at Fitzwilly’s Restaurant and Bar — which recently reopened for outdoor dining — meant clocking 13 miles of walking for one server. 

“It’s a lot of running around,” Wes Mendez, another server at Fitzwilly’s, said of the restaurant’s reopening with outdoor seating.

Mendez is happy to be back at work and have some sense of normalcy, he said as he poured a beer and sliced limes behind the bar on Tuesday. 

“We want people to come,” Mendez said. “The more the merrier.”

Dining has returned to downtown Northampton — though it doesn’t look like it did before the pandemic started this spring.

As part of Gov. Charlie Baker’s second phase of the state’s reopening plan, restaurants are able to serve food outdoors. Tables are 6 feet apart, servers wears masks and hand sanitizer is available at restaurant entrances, exits and dining areas, per the state’s regulations. Recently, concrete barriers went up around some Main Street parking spaces to convert them into dining areas, and the city has loosened the requirement to wear a face covering in downtown areas for those who are eating at a sit-down restaurant.

At lunchtime Tuesday, a scattering of diners could be seen eating downtown at restaurants including Local, Patisserie Lenox and Amanouz Cafe. Hotel Northampton’s Wiggins Tavern also advertised that it is now open for outdoor dining. In Amherst, the Hangar, Bistro 63, Johnny’s Tavern and IYA Sushi and Noodle Kitchen reopened over the weekend.

Eating in the street will “definitely take some getting used to,” said Larry Cervelli, as he sat outside Amanouz Cafe in a blocked-off section of the street with Steven Connor. Outdoor dining felt safe to them, they said. “As long as he doesn’t spit when he talks,” Cervelli said jokingly of Connor, who sat across the table from him. 

Across the street, several people at different tables dined under a tent in the Fitzwilly’s parking lot. The space opened over the weekend and can accommodate 55 diners, as long as they keep social distance. “We practice safe six,” a sign reads.

“I’m thrilled to be here,” said Wally Pearlman, as he sat with an iced tea. Another diner, Hannah Young, echoed his thoughts. “It’s good to get out of the house,” she said.

“Unfortunately, not all restaurants will be able to do this,” said another Fitzwilly’s patron, Patrice Mercier, noting that not all restaurants have the space for it.

Tables at Fitzwilly’s were spaced out and all dining took place outside — safety precautions that Mercier’s fellow diner Nick Salvatore felt were adequate. “I think this is the best we can do right now.”

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy