Thanks to modifications to the Restore Illinois plan, bars and restaurants can begin offering customers outdoor dining options starting May 29.
However, some are left wondering what to do, as they don’t have an outside patio.
Adjusting To The Times
So Chris Mason, head chef and owner of Allegory in Downtown Naperville, decided to build his own.
“The first table took a couple of different runs at it,” said Mason. “I built a jig on the table out back so now I can build the legs pretty quickly. After the cuts I can put one of those together in 10 minutes. The first [table] took a while. The next one should take about an hour a piece.”
Tables To Play A Big Role
Mason is using local stores to buy the equipment needed to build the tables, which will play a big role in tomorrow’s opening.
“We’re a new restaurant and we were doing decently,” said Mason. “But still, the first couple of years of any restaurant money is a little tight. The last two months have been horrendous. We’re down the same as everyone down about 75%, so that’s not really a viable soluble business model. So I tried to do this as inexpensively but as sturdy as I could. I got about $50 bucks in each table.”
Mason is no stranger to getting his hands dirty, having literally built most of Allegory.
“I built the floors, the booths, and the banquette, and all the back bar shelving, and the beams overhead. I really enjoy it,” said Mason. “Under these circumstances, not as much, because one part of my brain has to get this done and the other part of my brain is busy with what needs to happen inside.”
The City of Naperville has allowed Allegory to use parts of the sidewalk and two parking spaces in front of the restaurant for five tables, which can seat 30 people.
Mason said the restaurant will follow health recommendations spacing the tables six-feet apart, and will still offer curbside pickup.
And because of the modifications to the Restore Illinois plan Mason hopes to bring back half a dozen employees back from furlough.
“I don’t know what to expect with the outdoor dining,” said Mason. “If it’s wildly popular–which of course I’m hoping for–then that will change those numbers. I mean I would love to bring everybody back. I really would.”
To see other bars and restaurants offering outdoor seating, check out the Downtown Naperville Alliance’s website.
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.
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