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Patio Platforms Cause Tension in Downtown Birmingham

Are Birmingham restaurants taking up too many parking spaces for patio seating?

Zack Sklar, who owns Social Kitchen & Bar and MEX, plans to open two bistros on N. Old Woodward Avenue.
Zack Sklar, who owns Social Kitchen & Bar and MEX, plans to open two bistros on N. Old Woodward Avenue.
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Zack Sklar, the chef behind Peas & Carrots Hospitality Group, plans to open two restaurants, Au Cochon and Arthur Avenue., in Birmingham's former Chen Chow Brasserie complete with patio dining. However, the Birmingham City Commission may stand in the way of Sklar's outdoor dining vision. Tonight, the City Commission is expected to decide whether or not Sklar will be allowed to use two parking spaces for a patio platform.

On April 27, Sklar went before commissioners with his proposal to build platforms on two parking spaces on Old Woodward, according to Downtown Publications. "It's no secret that Birmingham is a walkable community and everyone wants to be outdoors. We really want to be outside to capitalize on the outside business," Sklar told the commission. During deliberation, commissioners did not appear to support the move, citing a parking shortage and moved to push the decision until today.

Retail shop owners like Richard Arstein don't support patio platforms that take up parking, according to The Detroit Free Press. "These parking spots on the street are the lifeblood of an establishment, and if you were in retail you'd understand it," Arstein told the city commission on April 13.

Last summer, Toast Birmingham's application to add a dining platform was denied by the commission, but the restaurant reapplied in April and was approved for the outdoor seating expansion.

Palladium 12

250 N Old Woodward Ave, Birmingham, MI 48009 (248) 644-3456 Visit Website