It will soon be time to get out and enjoy spring-like weather…….

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After the cold winter ends…sidewalk cafes will be welcomed and appreciated more than ever!

With the anticipation of balmy weather and the upcoming Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk, preparations begin for the start of summer and the appearance of sidewalk cafés throughout the neighborhood.

Sidewalk cafés don’t just appear; the City of Chicago imposes strict guidelines on the operators of sidewalk cafés. The sidewalk café season runs from March 1 through December 1. A business seeking approval must submit a detailed application, including the exact length and width of the proposed sidewalk café area, photographs, seating plan, and landscaping requirements. The application must include the Alderman’s signature/approval.

A sidewalk café operator must hold a valid retail food establishment license, and food must be offered for sale during the hours of operation. Only alcoholic beverages sold by the operator are allowed at sidewalk cafes. A café cannot operate “BYOB.”

The city expects sidewalk cafés to enhance the neighborhood. The landscaping requirements of the ordinance are very specific. At least 50% of the café boundary must be covered with planter boxes of a minimum size and contain live plants.

The Sheffield neighborhood sidewalk café hours of operation are 8 am to 10 pm. Music is not permitted at any sidewalk café. Unlike other licenses, sidewalk café licenses require an annual reapplication.

Sidewalk cafes are welcomed by our neighborhood. However, should a business not comply with the City’s strict guidelines of sidewalk café operations, a fine of $200 to $500 will be issued for each offense.

A community meeting was held on April 14 regarding the request by Snarfs, 955 W. Webster, for a sidewalk café. There were no objections to adding another sidewalk cafe to the neighborhood.

Sheffield neighborhood sidewalk cafes this past season included: Starbucks (Webster/Halsted), McGee’s, Tarantino’s, Athenian Room, Glascott’s, formerly John’s Place (White Oak Tavern & Inn), Annette’s Italian Ice, David’s Tea, Sugar Fixe, Jam N’ Honey, Homeslice, Taq Haus, Le Pain Quotidien, Café Floriole and Chez Moi.

Patty Hayes chairs SNA’s Neighborhood Relations Committee.