Plattsburgh restaurant pleads for more space to keep diners safe

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 6:12 PM EDT
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Northern New York restaurants are getting ready to reopen once they get the OK from Governor Cuomo. One Plattsburgh restaurant is sending a plea to the City Council for more space. Our Kelly O'Brien spoke to the restaurant owner and those who make the final call.

Carol McLean owns Irises Cafe and Wine Bar. She sent a letter asking for more outdoor seating for her restaurant and it's gaining traction online.

The city streets in Plattsburgh remain bare and locals' favorite restaurants remain closed.

"We've been here 23 years," McLean said. "To have to close the door was one of the hardest things I've ever done."

Irises Cafe and Wine Bar-- known for their delicious sweet treats and food, as well as their Wednesday Martini Nights-- has remained closed since April.

"Not knowing if we're going to make it, if we are going to have enough business to be successful," McLean said.

She's looking ahead to reopening.

"We don't know exactly what the limitations will be yet for seating but we know they will be less," McLean said.

She hopes to expand outdoor seating at her restaurant.

Rewind to past seasonal seating and it was a common sight downtown to see every seat full. Now, the tables and chairs are up.

McLean sent a letter to the City Council last week. She included a plan to shut down roads for certain hours on certain days and rotating for different dining establishment through the week, allowing more space to keep tables six feet apart

"At the very least, we could get the same amount of seating that we normally would outside," McLean said.

"I think it's a great idea," said Mayor Colin Read, D-Plattsburgh.

There were some concerns from councilors about shutting down state roads within the city and if that state would even allow that.

"Route 9 as a state route ends at our boundaries, so within the city of Plattsburgh, those aren't state Route 9s, those are city-maintained roads," Read said.

The mayor says the city has had permits before to shut roads down in the past for events downtown and says the discussion will continue among the council members.

"We are allowed to do that kind of stuff and I think the council is considering it," Read said.

The mayor says he thinks it's feasible to have the answer before phase three starts, which allows for the reopening of bars and restaurants.

I reached out to a handful of local places that usually offer outdoor seating, all said they liked the idea.

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