2 Springfield restaurants to be open early on first day of outdoor dining

Two Springfield restaurants are opening early Friday to celebrate the reopening of outdoor dining.

“We’re just excited to see some people - hear people talking, laughter and drinks,” Tina Ramsey, owner of O’Conners Irish Pub said. “It’s like opening a brand new restaurant again after two months.”

O’Conners Irish Pub and Wayside Tavern will open at 8 a.m. Friday for outdoor dining. The Ole Brick Tavern, Salato Deli and Le Torte Dolci will offer outdoor dining during normal business hours.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week that restaurants and bars were permitted to reopen outdoor dining Friday and indoor dining on Thursday, May 21.

“Reopening Ohio is a risk, but it’s also a risk if you don’t move forward. We’re on a dangerous road that has never been traveled before in Ohio and the danger is that we relax and stop taking precautions,” DeWine said in a press release on May 7. “All of us collectively control this. I ask you to take calculated risks and make good judgments. Continue social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing face coverings. If you aren’t concerned with what happens to you, do it for others.”

To ensure that restaurants and bars are operating in the “safest manner possible,” DeWine’s Restaurant Advisory Group created a list of guidelines and best practices.

Guidelines include posting maximum dining area capacity using updated COVID-19 compliant floor plans, allowing no more than 10 people in a party, cleaning all high-touch areas every two hours, providing approved hand washing/sanitizing products in common areas and removing self-service, table and common area items like condiments, according to DeWine’s Responsible RestartOhio plan.

RELATED: Some Springfield restaurants, brewery delay opening outdoor dining

Sandy Hamilton, owner of The Ole Brick Tavern said her employees will wear masks, carry around disinfectant sprays and wipe down tables as soon as a customer moves to ensure customer safety.

The Ole Brick Tavern has outdoor seating in the front and back of the building. After moving the tables six feet apart, Hamilton said they have about 98 seats.

“I think we’re going to be bombarded Friday. Everybody is missing going to the bar,” Hamilton said. “I think food or no food we’re going to get a very good turn out.”

Hamilton explained that they were forced to temporarily close because they were a pub that served food. She and her husband, Mark, decided to operate as a restaurant that serves alcohol to allow their employees to come back to work.

“It’s not the same business that we do normally, but our community has been showing us a world of support,” Hamilton said. “Last week was our first full week of carryout and it turned out really well.”

During the temporarily closure, Wayside Tavern used the extra time to test out new food items, Abby Boswell, owner of the Wayside Tavern said.

Boswell explained that the tavern was closed for about a month, but eventually reopened for carryout to let her bartenders make money.

She guessed that they quadrupled their food sales during the shutdown, but “I make money on Patron, not poppers.”

Wayside Tavern has about eight picnic tables and a cement pad in the back of the building for outdoor seating.

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“We’re right in the middle of remodeling the covered patio when they reopened us, so we’re kind of scrambling to get the roof back on,” Boswell said.

Wayside Tavern and O’Conners Irish Pub will have breakfast food items Friday.

“We will have some breakfast pastries, Bloody Marys, mimosas, and of course some ice-cold beer,” Ramsey said.

She explained that her employees will wear masks, have disposable menus and sanitize bathrooms and front doors every 30 minutes.

Outdoor seating is expected to include six tables and 10 seats at the bar, Ramsey said.

Dan Freeman, owner of Salato Deli and Le Torte Dolci said they will have outdoor seating on their back patio. He also said that there is seating across the street at the parking garage for customers to use.

“We are doing everything in our control to do whatever the government wants us to do and the health department,” Ramsey said. “We will be as safe as we can.”

A few Springfield restaurants and a brewery decided to not open outdoor seating Friday. Instead, they are using the extra time to prepare for diners.

“There’s so many unanswered questions right now that we need some more time to digest them, talk them through and try to do what’s best,” Kevin Loftis, owner of Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co. said. “I don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.”

Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co., Guerra’s Krazy Taco, Rudy’s Smokehouse, Stella Bleu Bistro and Un Mundo Cafe have decided to not have outdoor seating on Friday.

Rudy’s Smokehouse is taking the time to assess how to protect their customers and employees when they decide to open for indoor dining.

“You have to protect your customers and employees. Your customers are going to notice things they’ve never noticed in their lives that have no barometer on their lives, but now it does in their mind,” Rudy’s co-owner Bill Fischer said. “We’re going to make sure we take that out of their minds.”

For more information on when the restaurants or the brewery will reopen, customers should search for them on Facebook.

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