Our round-up of the latest Wellesley, Mass., business news:
Restaurants ready for outdoor dining
In accordance with the state’s reopening plan, Wellesley is working with restaurants to allow outdoor dining as soon as June 8 both for those that have offered it in the past and those that would like to offer it for at least the near-term.
The town has made available to restaurants a temporary outdoor seating permit application that could allow businesses a chance to generate business beyond takeout and curbside pickup.
The application reads in part: “This guidance is a step-by-step instruction manual if you would like to use land adjacent to your restaurant to allow for outdoor dining to increase business activity and revenues in a safe and responsible way during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that this is a challenging time and are open to creative proposals as long as they are thoughtfully prepared and complete. We intend to partner with our restaurants to refine the proposals – thank you for your flexibility and patience as we approach this next phase.”
We’ve heard repeatedly over the years from restaurant owners that Wellesley is a notoriously tough place to get a restaurant off the ground due various town rules. But these are obviously different times, and the town is taking a fresh look in light of the plight restaurants have suffered during the pandemic.
Still, the health, police, fire, planning and building departments will all have a say in how this rolls out. Permissions to consider extending alcohol licenses to outdoor seating areas and to erect tents are among the issues at hand.
Some restaurants are raring to go, others are unsure whether the town will permit them to do what they need to do.
Papa Razzi, which renovated last year and has offered outdoor dining in the past, has already posted on its website that “Beginning on June 8th we will be opening for in person outdoor dining. We will be serving our dinner menu only, from 3PM – 9PM nightly. We continue to await additional guidance from the governor on reopening, so please check back soon for a more detailed update on what your dining experience will look like and how to reserve a table.”
CrepeBerry, too, has June 8 circled on its calendar: “I will be putting tables outside starting on June 8th so people can sit and enjoy their food. At this time I am planning on continuing to use only disposable plates/cups/cutlery through the end of the summer,”says CrepeBerry’s Amelia Childs.
Another Wellesley restaurant owner, who would seem to have enough parking lot room to fit a handful of tables, said it has no plans right now to expand beyond takeout: “We will see how town reacts to serving alcohol outside, as we are currently not licensed to do.”
Recent events across the country have residents wondering how they can support local businesses owned by those who identify as Black or African-American. We know Wellesley’s Barber Walter’s barbershop, which is back and clipping, is one. But do you know of others? Same question re: Natick. Finding businesses that perhaps don’t have a storefront presence might be most challenging. We’ve reached out to local chambers of commerce, too.
Lists have been popping up related to such businesses in greater Boston, including a restaurant-specific ones. Getting a Wellesley or Natick list has proven tricky so far, as race is not included on the business certificate filled in by those establishing a presence here. Open to ideas: [email protected]
New food delivery option in town
D’Artagnan’s food service is offering free delivery in Wellesley of its poultry, meats, seafood, and more. That’s a convenience right now for home cooks having trouble finding the right meats due to grocery store shortages, or who just want to keep their errands to a minimum for now.