New way to dine outside: Denver approves first communal patio

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DENVER (KDVR) — The stretch of Glenarm Place that splits the Denver Pavilions will transform from a street to a food court this summer, after Denver approved the first communal dining area in the city Tuesday.

“This whole program has really spurred a lot of creativity on the part of our restaurants and our staff,” said Ashley Kilroy, executive director of Denver Excise and Licenses. “We’re taking unprecedented action in Denver during unprecedented times.”

So far, the department has approved 146 applications for outdoor dining amid the coronavirus pandemic, but what will now be dubbed as the Glenarm Patio is the first of its kind for a collaborative approach to the concept.

Patrons will be able to grab a meal on Glenarm between the 16th Street Mall and 15th Street, choosing between 5280 Burger Bar, Maggiano’s Little Italy, the Hard Rock Café and Lime. 

Per state law, customers can’t order a drink or food from different restaurants at the same table. 

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years in Denver and I’ve just never seen everybody just saying, ‘We’ve got to all do this and we’ll just figure it out.’ And they did,” said Curt Sims, Lime’s owner.

Sims has not been able to open his restaurant since the shutdown began, considering his restaurant is on the third floor of the pavilion, and lack of foot traffic has made it impractical for pick-up orders.

Construction is well underway to create seating for the new patio, and businesses hope it will be up and running as early as Wednesday night.

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