Outdoor dining returns to Indy in time for Memorial Day weekend

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind- On Friday, Marion County restaurants were able to open to outdoor dining only for the first time in weeks.

Several restaurants were also able to add outdoor seating with 5 major roads being closed.

Broad Ripple Avenue is now a giant pedestrian corridor, as diners enjoyed a meal at Kilroy’s for the first time in weeks.

“Still kind of weird to be out but really good to not be earring out of a takeout box,” said diner Grace Ybarra.

Kilroy’s added extra outdoor seats in their parking lot and have been pretty full for the entire day. There’s more distance between tables, and the wait staff is all masked up.

“If you don’t feel safe, I understand staying at home but please come out, we’re taking all the precautions to make sure people are safe,” said Regional Manager for Kilroy’s Steve Kelly.

With the closure of main roads like Broad Ripple Avenue, Illinois Street, Georgia Street and Mass Ave, there’s a lot more space for outdoor dining.

“We’ve been trapped in our house for over two months now, so this is very exciting,” said a diner walking the street.

On Mass Avenue, restaurants like Bakersfield took their tacos to the street, filled with people still waiting to get a table.

“We’ve been looking to get some food, but a lot of the restaurants have been packed with reservations and a lot of them you can’t get anywhere until 10pm,” said Clayton McClain.

Just off Mass Ave, the patio at The Tap has been about 90% full the entire day, as diners keep coming.

“It’s been steady the entire day and I expect all the way until midnight, 1 o’clock we’ll be busy,” said The Tap General Manager Chris Martin.

The lively atmosphere is bringing people some sense of normalcy, but several restaurant owners who opposed the closure feared Mass Ave would become a giant street party.

“You know you put forward a lot of effort to do a lot of things to be safe and do things within what they asked us to do, and certainly, what’s going on Mass Avenue outside of the restaurants is not what they asked us to do,” Martin said.

Not every restaurant along the streets decided to open but about 20 applied for extra outdoor seating.

The street is expected to remain closed until July 4th.

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