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Downtown coffee shop gets approval for outdoor seating

Outdoor seating is permitted in front of On What Grounds? on Main Street in downtown Berlin. Berlin’s Town Council approved the request during a meeting last Tuesday.

By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer

(June 6, 2019) The coffee shop, On What Grounds?, received Town Council approval for outside seating during last Tuesday’s Berlin council meeting.

“I think [having] tables and chairs make[s] it that much more inviting and asks people to stay, have a seat and enjoy…,” co-owner Dana Gottloeb said.

Mayor Gee Williams agreed that the theme would fit right into the downtown landscape.

“We’re not looking trying to create uniformity because all the different decorations and plantings and things that are done in front of all the stores are done individually, it’s not mandated, and … we have a lot of creative, and I think very attractive, decorations on our downtown streets, and … I think it would add to the charm of the entire walk[way],” Williams said.

Gottloeb said he hopes to have furniture of roughly the same size as that DiFebo’s Italian Restaurant uses across the street.

He said he asked restaurant owner Lisa DiFebo if he could borrow a set of tables and chairs to see his proposed idea would be possible, and found the sidewalk clearance outside his shop has 56 inches, “from where tables would be to the curb.”

Gottloeb also told the council “there were lots of people sitting at the tables and chairs across the street,” as people visited downtown Berlin during Memorial Day Weekend.

Williams added having outdoor seating is just another way to enjoy the entirety of downtown Berlin.

“You might order a cup of coffee, and then you might order something else, and then you might stay for dinner and you might do some shopping in between,” Williams said.

Councilman Elroy Brittingham moved to approve the business owners’ request. The vote was 4-1, with Councilman Dean Burrell dissenting.