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Sunshine, warm weather brings return of patio season in Lethbridge

Click to play video: 'Sunshine, warm weather brings return of patio season to Lethbridge'
Sunshine, warm weather brings return of patio season to Lethbridge
The snow has melted and the sun has appeared. Patio season is officially underway in Lethbridge. After a long winter, the sight of patrons filling streetside patios is a surefire way to put a smile on the faces of restaurant workers. – May 10, 2024

The snow has melted and the sun has appeared. Patio season has officially returned to Lethbridge.

After a long winter, the sight of patrons filling street-side patios is a surefire way to put a smile on the faces of restaurant workers.

“It really helps boost up the business and everything,” said Mheng Dolojan, the general manager of Telegraph Taphouse.

The City of Lethbridge says there were 13 permits issued for patios, street vendors and parklets last year. So far this spring, there have been 11, but the city is anticipating more as summer approaches.

The thought is shared by Sarah Amies, the executive director of Downtown BRZ.

“We’re anticipating the same number, if not more, this year.”

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge businesses preparing for patio season'
Lethbridge businesses preparing for patio season

She says the popularity of patios in Lethbridge increased exponentially during the social distancing years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Patios are certainly very, very popular. They became extremely popular during COVID and their popularity has remained,” said Amies.

While businesses like the Telegraph relied on outdoor dining to weather the COVID storm, new locations like Blanco Cantina have seen nothing but smooth sailing in the summer.

Ryan Wakeman is the general manager of the Mexican restaurant and he says the success of the patio allows them to manage when the snow falls and visitors dwindle.

“Maybe, as a brand, I would says tacos and tequila don’t exactly scream wintertime, so definitely the summer is where we make our hay,” said Wakeman. “That definitely helps us through the slower months.”

Click to play video: 'Calgary Humane Society on dogs now allowed on patios'
Calgary Humane Society on dogs now allowed on patios

While the sunlit dinners may help his business survive the cold, it has actually been so busy the company has needed to expand. Blanco Cantina will be opening its new rooftop patio next weekend.

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“It’s time to expand and this was always the dream. The rooftop was always the dream from the beginning,” said Wakeman. “So, we’re definitely excited that we’re pretty much there.”

While the blue sky will allow patios to thrive all summer long, one event is coming up right away and the outdoor dining experience will surely elevate it.

“I anticipate patios to be full of folks celebrating their moms,” said Amies.

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, with some businesses in Lethbridge offering special menus.

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