Smoke House restaurant in Newport RI wants to expand outdoor seating
NEWPORT – After meeting success with its temporary outdoor food court, Smoke House Cafe is hoping to make its COVID-born patio a permanent fixture in Scott’s Wharf.
“It improves the customer experience,” said Kenneth Cusson, director of business development for Newport Restaurant Group.
Smoke House is a seasonal barbecue restaurant located at the front of Scott’s Wharf along America’s Cup Avenue. It is across from The Mooring, which is also part of the Newport Restaurant Group.
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Like many restaurants in Newport, Smoke House added temporary outdoor seating in 2020 to ensure social distancing between diners during the pandemic. Now he wants to make the expansion a permanent feature of the restaurant by building a new wooden deck and a new patio.
The Newport Restaurant Group project team appeared before the planning board on Monday to approve the development plan for recommendation to the zoning review committee, which will decide whether or not to approve the project at a later meeting.
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The expansion proposal was associated with a project to beautify the parking lot in front of the restaurant, which would add more plants and sidewalks inside the parking lot.
Cusson said discussions regarding any potential changes in hours of operation or when the space is finished will take place once the zoning council decides on the development plan.
Through the Town Planning Council’s request, the group also applied for a special use permit that would allow them to go ahead without adding the number of parking spaces required by the city’s zoning code. . The parking lot, although generally uncrowded most of the year, is a primary parking area for the annual International Boat Show. The development plan will reduce the available parking by 10 spaces.
Based on the size of the expansion, Smoke House is expected to have 28 parking spaces available for customers, since the zoning code calls for one parking space per 150 square feet of service space. But the restaurant maintains that the irregular size of the plot makes it impossible to add additional parking spaces.
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In addition, since the size of the parcel was established before the zoning code was amended to include these requirements, applying a literal interpretation of the code would be “unreasonable”, according to Council’s request. layout.
While the planning council unanimously approved to recommend the plan and the special use permit to the zoning council, the council voted to modify the plan to require the project team to create pedestrian access to through the car park in the extension of the harbor promenade.
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The Harbor Walk Project is a walkway across the edge of the Newport waterfront that the Planning Board has been trying to improve for years, as the current walking path frequently diverts from the harbor, onto America’s Cup Avenue, making it more difficult to follow. The Town Planning Council’s request for the Smoke House project would cut past The Mooring restaurant, creating an adjoining path.
“This is an effort by the city to power public access to traverse the harbor from one end to the other,” said planning board chairman Jeff Brooks. “Every time something happens to the waterfront planning board, we try to add a continuation to the harbor promenade.”