Hundreds of Denver restaurants wait on expanded patio permit approvals as dine-in options return

Posted at 8:47 PM, May 26, 2020

DENVER -- It has been a costly spring for Denver restaurants during this pandemic.

“It's been tough. Real tough. I mean I've just watched everything I've worked for my whole life go down the drain,” Lisa Sanchez said.

Sanchez owns Nug Nugs Diner and Berkeley Inn on Tennyson Street. She was one of the first to apply for a patio expansion permit once she heard the city was taking applications for them when restaurants like hers got the go-ahead to re-open.

“I was told the city was going to do this expediently and it's turned into a lot of mounds of paperwork,” Sanchez told Denver7.

And with dine-in seating allowed Wednesday, the outdoor seating she applied for would bring in dining numbers that could save her business. She has yet to hear from the city.

“I do need this. I need it very much and I need it sooner rather than later,” Sanchez said.

And, she's not alone.

In the block between her restaurants sits Hops and Pie, which is also sitting and waiting for a permit.

“For us it's vital because we're not sure we're going to open up indoor dining, so that outdoor area would be everything in this scenario,” Hops and Pie owner Drew Watson said.

City officials said more than 380 restaurants applied for permits. they didn’t issue their first two until Tuesday.

“So is it frustrating, sure. But in our industry everyone is in the same boat right now so I'm not going to stomp my feet that it happens. It'll happen when it happens and hopefully sooner than later,” Watson said.

Hops and Pie hopes to use its parking lot, but would need time to get ready and to make sure it's safe.

But Sanchez is waiting on edge for the city's expedited decision.

“They should've just said, 'Yes, you can do this; no, you can't do this,” Sanchez said.

Since, she said, a lot is on the line with the city's decision.

“If we don't get that expansion approved and they don't let me operate as a restaurant, I'll probably end up losing everything I've ever owned,” she said.

City officials told Denver7 the two restaurants they plan to approve Tuesday are the Dive Inn on South Broadway and the Bierstadt Lagerhaus on Blake Street