EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 24, 2013

Outdoor dining push adding 104 seats

ANDOVER — An area that one local property owner has called “Restaurant Row” is slowly transforming to something that could be characterized as a “food court” in the northern end of downtown Andover.

Five downtown eateries are seeking to establish outside seating this year, three of which include serving alcohol outdoors. Two of those three got approval from the Board of Selectmen Monday, moving them forward to getting approval from the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, according to Town Clerk Larry Murphy.

Approved Monday for outdoor alcohol sales were Brasserie 28, located at the corner of Main Street and Post Office Avenue, and Yella Grille, located further down Post Office Avenue.

With a third restaurant expected to open up next to Yella Grille in the coming months, bringing the end total of outdoor seats to 104, Murphy said “I don’t know if ‘food court’ is the right term, but this has been thoroughly vetted” by the town police and fire departments with regards to safety.

Brasserie 28 is approved for a total of 60 seats outdoors, including 32 on the town-owned sidewalk facing Main Street and 28 on the private sidewalk along Post Office Avenue, according to restaurant owner Matt Morello.

The establishment had to reduce the occupancy inside the restaurant to allow for 60 seats outside without adding additional restroom facilities, Morello said. The restaurant was already permitted for 135 occupants, between seated guests and those occupying the restaurants standing room, prior to adding outdoor seating.

“We only have about 75 seats total in the restaurant, but when you take the calculation, just the total space when you calculate for fire code, it comes out to 135,” he said. “We had to take a reduction in the total amount of seats by 15.”

Yella Grille will use two parking spaces on the privately owned road to set up six four-seat tables, according to Michael Morris, an attorney representing Yella Grille.

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