CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s new plan to help restaurants draw more business is drawing strong criticism from some owners. They say shutting down streets will hurt their bottom lines, not help.
On Friday night people were still out enjoying themselves using street seating the city says it is looking to make more permanent. But not every business is on board.READ MORE: Kendrick Adams Charged After Burglars Break Into Nordstrom On Michigan Avenue, Steal Purses
In River North the roads are closed, tables are set, and people are more than willing to grab a bite or drink on a street side patio.
There is a similar scene in the West Loop. At The Darling the crew is happy to serve out front.
“I just think we’re incredible to have been given the opportunity because we were closed for such a long time and that has a impact on us finically,” said Gloria Wood. “This area didn’t exist prior to COVID, and it was built with our customers and Chicago in mind.”
The Darling has transformed parking spaces, and the city is telling businesses street dining will likely stick around. Chicago wants them to submit ideas for some permanent plans.
But over at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, the blocked street isn’t so tasty to customers.READ MORE: 'I Just Wanted To See My Grandma': Suburban Chicago Teens Help Peers Get COVID Vaccine Appointments
“IT does hinder our business just a bit,” said Kelli Kosikas.
The general manager said when the city blocked the streets and allowed outdoor dining last fall, sales dropped 80%.
“Our drivers can’t exactly get to us so easily,” said Kosikas. “Our customers can’t drive on the streets like they’re used to. So we do get a lot of calls about ‘How do I get there?’ We’ve had orders canceled at the last minute.”
So a permanent closure or outdoor dining is not sizzling for the chicken spot.
As the city tries to accommodate the crowds for bars and restaurants, the folks at Gus’s hope everyone who uses the street is considered.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Dry And Quiet Pattern
“Get a general conscience and see what works best for the whole neighborhood,” said Kosikas. “There are retailers on the street that are not restaurants. They are having difficulties as well.”