Appleton to Review Sidewalk Dining Rules - WBAY

Appleton to Review Sidewalk Dining Rules

Appleton to Review Sidewalk Dining Rules

Updated:
Appleton - In a push to attract diners who might want to eat on College Avenue, the Mad Hatter Pub and Grill is the latest restaurant to set up outside tables.

It's a trend that some say would be booming in downtown Appleton if it weren't for regulations some businesses say are too strict.

"It is a huge interest out here, especially in the summer, because people want to sit outside in nice weather, eat their food, and enjoy a few drinks," said T.J. Martin, the manager of the Mad Hatter.  

So right now a resolution is before the city council which would remove rules requiring the tables to be enclosed by a free-standing decorative barrier and that the tables be monitored by an employee whenever in use.

Jennifer Stephany of Appleton Downtown Inc. said, "What it really came down to is dollars and cents, is the amount of money they had to be investing in staff to be able to monitor those outdoor cafes, in addition to having a server for those tables."

Stephany says only a few restaurants downtown have outdoor seating right now, and that the number of participating businesses has dropped recently.  

The city's Safety and Licensing Committee took up the resolution Thursday afternoon.

The committee failed to pass it after casting a 2-2 vote.   

"A number of other cities perhaps don't do this because they don't see this as an issue or they're not worried about it, but in Appleton we've always taken kind of a hard line about alcohol abuse. We have very responsible people downtown, they're very responsible businesses, but the culture of alcohol is something all of Wisconsin faces, and we take it seriously," said Alderman Jeff Jirschele, who authored the resolution.  

Supporters of the resolution will have another chance to make their case. It goes before the full council for a vote next week.

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