If you’re tired of dining at home, but aren’t quite ready to sit down at a restaurant table, you might want to head downtown.
The City of Las Vegas has blocked off traffic at two locations — in the Arts District and just off Fremont Street — to serve as communal outdoor dining areas.
A dozen canopies were erected Wednesday on Sixth Street just south of Fremont Street, each with a single table and four folding chairs. One of those tables was occupied Wednesday evening by an attendant equipped with sanitizing products. A similar setup, with 11 canopied tables, was placed on California Avenue between Casino Center Boulevard and Main Street.
Details on the effort weren’t announced until Thursday morning, when it was revealed that the program, known as Dine Out Downtown, will run from from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Phases One and Two of the state’s reopening schedule.
That didn’t stop people from utilizing the Arts District area early Wednesday evening, when an attendant on duty confirmed that people were welcome to enjoy food and drinks purchased at nearby businesses including Esther’s Kitchen, Tacotarian, Garagiste Wine Room, CraftHaus Brewery and Vesta Coffee Roasters. The city reiterated Thursday that program is designed to allow guests to enjoy takeout food and drink purchased from downtown restaurants in the designated areas, and city staff will be on hand to clean and disinfect the tables and chairs between uses.
“It’s a very responsible, very cool thing that the city’s doing,” said Esther’s Kitchen owner James Trees, who is seating diners inside his restaurant and at his own sidewalk tables, but was excited to have additional space for people to enjoy his takeout dishes.
“I don’t know why they’re doing it. But they’re doing something. And just doing something is kind of cool.”
At Carson Kitchen, just around the corner from the Sixth Street location, owner Cory Harwell was equally impressed, despite the fact his restaurant offers ample outdoor dining of its own.
“This is an effort by a municipality to try to get creative with what can they do to try and help local businesses,” Harwell said. “The fact that we have a city that’s willing to do this to try to give people a place to go to, I think is absolutely fantastic.”