Local restaurants have struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic, with many closed completely, or forced to get by on takeout business alone. Since Governor Cuomo has given the okay for outdoor dining, many have gotten creative - adding outdoor seating on sidewalks and in parking lots.

A Utica restaurant is proposing a bigger solution for Varick Street restaurants, and the city has agreed to hear them out.

Nail Creek Pub & Brewery says they are working with the city to "explore closing a small section of Varick Street" for outdoor dining. They suggest 10 week test period for the closure.

They say this "urban Park" would cause minimal parking loss in the area, and would be easy to navigate around. In a Facebook post, they lay out more of their proposal:

  • Could be the designated food truck and vendor area
  • NO general open container.
  • Establishments would lease, insure, and extend liquor license inside of a designated area that would be "roped" off.
  • Great location for events as it ties in with the brewery.
  • Brings a European "square" feel to the street.
  • VERY limited startup costs. Perhaps just some removable bollards.

Ithaca is already trying something similar on Aurora Street, closing a block of "Restaurant Row" for outdoor dining.

Sonny Greco, Mayor Palmieri's Chief of Staff says, "We’re meeting with some Varick Street business owners this week (virtually of course) to discuss details and any logistical concerns. Won’t have more information until after the meeting.”

We applaud the creativity of our downtown business owners, and hope the city of Utica can work something out to add something different to our downtown spaces.