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Expanded outdoor dining returns to downtown Rochester April 22

Release Date: April 22, 2021

Media Contact: Katie Adelman
Rochester Downtown Alliance
Direct: 507-216-9886



Expanded outdoor dining returns to downtown Rochester April 22

ROCHESTER, Minn.—Five downtown restaurants will receive concrete barricades Thursday to outline extended dining areas, heralding the opening of outdoor dining season in Rochester’s central business district.

The first round of barricade placement will begin at 8 a.m. Restaurants initially receiving barricades include Bleu Duck Kitchen, Café Steam, Chester’s Kitchen and Bar, Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria, and Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Additional barricades may be placed later in the season as restaurants continue to apply for outdoor dining permits.

The use of barricades to extend outdoor dining areas into alleys, parking spaces, and delivery lanes was developed last spring in response to COVID-19 indoor dining restrictions. Teams from the City of Rochester, Destination Medical Center, the Rochester Downtown Alliance, and local architects worked quickly with businesses to find and permit unique locations to maximize outdoor dining capacity. The concrete barricades, which were selected for providing safety to outdoor diners at street level, were enhanced with potted flowers and custom painting by local artists.

“We were so impressed with the rapid work of everyone involved to create beautiful new outdoor dining spaces that Rochester had never seen before. Our downtown patios were a high point in a very challenging year, and we’re very excited to see them return,” said Holly Masek, RDA executive director.

“The allowance of outdoor seating last year not only helped us retain those customers that would have otherwise been turned away due to the reduction in seating but helped us create an additional event space that allowed us to observe COVID precautions without infringing on customer experience” said Will Forsman, owner of Café Steam. “We are excited to see the return of outdoor seating options this year, and plan to make the addition of a performance stage to allow for more regular musical performances which were one of our favorite parts of the patio last year.”

Downtown is also home to many other outdoor dining opportunities, including rooftop patios, retractable rooftops, bistro tables and chairs in our plazas and parks, and sidewalk café style seating.

About the Rochester Downtown Alliance
The Rochester Downtown Alliance is a nonprofit corporation comprised of a broad range of people representing property owners, business leaders, the city and others with a direct stake in enhanced business and economic development conditions in the downtown district. We work together to build a vibrant downtown community. We believe a strong core positively impacts the greater city of Rochester. Through a series of special events, activities, and initiatives, we create energy, excitement, and a unique character to Downtown Rochester, Minnesota.