Sidewalk patio at Square Cafe in Regent Square can remain open, borough says | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Sidewalk patio at Square Cafe in Regent Square can remain open, borough says

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
1838883_web1_PTR-SQUARECAFE-1
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
The Square Cafe in Regent Square can continue to have outdoor dining along the sidewalk, after approval by Edgewood Borough council Monday.
1838883_web1_PTR-SQUARECAFE
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
The Square Cafe in Regent Square can continue to have outdoor dining along the sidewalk, after approval by Edgewood Borough council Monday.

The outdoor seating at the Square Cafe in Regent Square, once in jeopardy, can remain open year-round, borough council members decided during a Monday meeting.

Edgewood Borough members unanimously voted in favor of an amendment to adjust some of the seating to allow sidewalk access, filed by the popular restaurant’s owner Sherree Goldstein. The borough had previously ordered her to close the patio by Oct. 31.

The controversy began when Goldstein received a letter from the borough in September stating that some outdoor tables were too close to the curb, which impeded opening doors from parked cars. The borough also said the restaurant’s tables and chairs were not being stored properly at night and that there wasn’t ample walking space to access a nearby handicapped ramp.

Goldstein was told to close the patio from November to March. Square Cafe, open for 16 years on Braddock Avenue, has always maintained year-round outdoor seating. The outdoor seating area is complemented with heat lamps during colder temperatures. There are 38 seats outside and 64 seats inside. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch.

“On the weekends there is a long wait for a table,” said Goldstein, of Wilkinsburg. “And if we didn’t have the outdoor seating it would be an even longer wait. We do a fair amount of business outside so this would impact our business, our staff. And we are done by 3:15 p.m.”

Goldstein said she moved some of her outdoor tables and chairs, as the borough requested. She contacted borough officials who asked her to file an amendment, which she did. On Monday, council president George Fuller said he learned the borough’s code, in its current form, does not limit the dates of when a restaurant can have outdoor dining.

He said he believes the ordinance needs to be revised.

It’s unclear whether neighboring businesses also filed a complaint about the seating impeding on foot traffic along Braddock Avenue. Fuller declined to elaborate.

The owner of Styles by Cardamone Salon & Day Spa and owners of The Salon, located on either side of the restaurant, declined comment.

Business neighbor Christopher Powell, a chiropractor and owner of Wellness Pittsburgh, said he had no problem with the seating. He said the restaurant, two doors down from his business, brings more people to the neighborhood.

“It adds to the sense of community,” said Powell, who submitted a letter to the borough in support of Goldstein. “I see so many people enjoying eating out there. It is good for everyone on the block. The visibility helps us all. I have had clients say they never would have known we were here if they weren’t sitting outside the Square Cafe.”

The Regent Square neighborhood includes portions of the municipalities of Pittsburgh, Edgewood, Swissvale and Wilkinsburg. The Square Cafe is on the Edgewood side of Braddock Avenue. Across the street is Swissvale.

Fuller said a code enforcement officer cited Square Cafe, but he hoped to find a resolution that appeased the neighborhood.

“If it’s a nice day and people want to sit outside, I am OK with that,” he said. “She is a good business owner and people like her and we would like all the neighbors to get along, but we can’t force people.”

Karen Howard of Regent Square has been a customer since Square Cafe opened. She stops a few times a week.

“They have awesome service and an awesome staff,” Howard said. “I have heard about the complaints. I am committed to this restaurant because it’s in my neighborhood. We have to learn to live with each other in a healthy way.”

Scott Connelly, a Churchill resident, said he believes construction along Braddock Avenue may be adding to frustration with parking in the area.

“We need to learn to co-exist,” he said. “If one of the other businesses were upset, they should have come and talked to her about it. This place is the heart of the neighborhood.”

Justin Pihony of Irwin was dining outside on Friday.

“When you drive by and you see all of the people sitting outside enjoying a meal, it shows that business is thriving,” he said. “And that’s a good thing, a really good thing.”

At Monday’s meeting, several residents spoke positively about the restaurant, saying it is a valuable asset to the community. Borough members said they are going to look into rewriting the outdoor dining ordinance.

“We are all right for now,” said Goldstein. “We are looking forward to working with the borough to rewrite the ordinance so that we can keep everyone happy.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.