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More good eats on the streets: Curbside Wilmington expands to Union Street

Union Street restaurants will follow the lead of Market Street, Trolley Square by adding tables outside to serve more customers.

Wilmington-area residents who want to dine under the stars this holiday weekend now have more options.

Beginning Sept. 4,, the well-received Curbside Wilmington expanded to the city’s West Side.

Four Union Street eateries — Eclipse, Merengue House, Dead Presidents and Milk & Honey — are currently participating in the weekend promotion, which allows restaurants to place tables and chairs on the sidewalks and in parking spaces in front of the restaurant. 

The addition of the West Side creates three hubs for alfresco dining, including the Wilmington business district and Trolley Square.

“When we began Curbside Wilmington back in June, I said then that I hoped to see this new business reopening model applied to other restaurant districts in the city,” said Mayor Mike Purzycki in a release. 

“We saw this a few weeks ago with Dining on Delaware in Trolley Square, and now I’m very pleased to announce the expansion of this effort to the Union Street corridor.” 

The promotion in all three locations will continue through October — weather permitting, said John Rago, the city’s deputy chief of staff for policy and communications. 

That is also the case for the Friday Curbside Wilmington block parties. The 800 block of Market Street is closed to traffic from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. that day.

A partnership between the city, Downtown Visions and The Committee of 100, Curbside Wilmington was created to boost business for downtown restaurants, which were struggling after being forced to close their dining rooms in spring. 

Today, restaurants may operate at 60% but most follow social distancing rules, which means they can rarely reach that level. By increasing their outdoor footprint, eateries can bump up the overall seating capacity. There are also designated spots for takeout and delivery.

Meanwhile, customers can dine outside, which reduces the risk of spreading the coronavirus. 

“I think it’s done very well for downtown,” said Scott Stein, co-owner of Bardea, of the initiatives.

Indeed, the promotion’s success led to Dine on Delaware in Trolley Square, the first of which was Aug. 14-16. On weekends, two blocks of Delaware Avenue close to make room for tables and chairs outside of nine restaurants. An emergency lane remains open.

The West Side addition is a partnership between the city, The Committee of 100 and West Side Grows Together. 

While Curbside Wilmington is geared toward weekends — Friday through Sunday nights — many restaurants, including Eclipse Bistro, now offer outdoor dining throughout the week.

Rago recommends calling before you go.

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