Sunday marks the start of outdoor dining in Boston’s North End neighborhood

BOSTON — On Saturday, restaurant owners and staffers had their hands full with outdoor dining preps on the heels of the city’s $7,500.00 dollar outdoor dining fees to restaurant owners for seasonal outdoor seating.

The fee only applies to North End businesses.  Many restaurants were rankled by the new fee at first but have since moved forward.

Hanover street was hosed down as tables and chairs were being unloaded from trucks, and street setup started, to make way for outdoor reservations for hungry patrons and Boston sports fans coming into the city.

Business owners tell Boston 25 News, that they’re ready to get going.  Frank DePasquale paid the fees for each of his seven restaurants in the neighborhood he said.  The customers mean everything to him and his staff.

DePasquale added, “You follow the plans and hopefully we move forward.  At first, a little upset but, we can work through it and hopefully the customers come back and it’s a tough thing to grind, but we’ll live through it and follow whatever the rules are and hopefully the customers will come back and hopefully our staff stays with us and doesn’t go to another part of the city.”

Massimo Tiberi got an early start offloading tables and chairs into his restaurant’s outdoor section at Ayra Trattoria, “More staff, more preparations, more food, more money, it is all good.”

Next door, at Caffe Paradiso Adrian DeStefano is still going, 60 years later as the owner of her popular venue.  “I think it’s fantastic, I’m happy. You know, it’s a long wait coming.  So, we waited a long time, especially this year, well when everybody else goes out. We also do understand the North End is one of the local, major points and there are too many restaurants, and it is very congested.  We understand that, but you know what, in Europe, it’s congested and nobody gets killed.”

Regarding the city’s 7,500.00 fees, DeStefano added, “It is what it is, pay up or keep your mouth shut.”

Jamie Alano and his son Anthony came in from Worcester for a haircut and to support the restaurants.  “We’ll support the neighborhood as much as possible.  We love the outdoor dining, the neighborhood has bought great experiences for all of us.  And candidly, I think it is ridiculous.  Personally, (the fees) it is uncalled for and I feel it’s discriminatory.”

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has previously stated it is a quality-of-life issue for the residents of this community, and the fees will offset some of those concerns. As of mid-day Saturday, the city received 67 outdoor dining applications.  23 of 28 hardships waiver applications were granted, requesting reduced fees.