DENVER — Larimer Square in downtown Denver will open to street dining this week, one of the first areas to be approved under the city's expanded seating program.
The popular shops and dining area received approval from the city, effective Wednesday, to shut down the 1400 block of Larimer Street between 14th and 15th streets for open-air dining. Rioja, Bistro Vendome, TAG and Capital Grille were among the restaurants opening, and crews were working to set up the expanded space on Wednesday.
The city's program, announced last month, was designed to allow restaurants to expand their seating areas to increase capacity while maintaining social distancing. Still, some restaurant owners said the process to get approval wasn't efficient and required too much paperwork.
Restaurants are still limited to 50% capacity or 50 people, whichever is fewer, for indoor dining, but the expanded outdoor space — which can include street, sidewalk or parking lot dining, as long as it is approved through the city — is aimed at helping restaurants serve more customers.