Parking-to-Dining Returns to Downtown Apex

Downtown Apex restaurants and cafes will soon be moving tables and chairs outside again, so their customers can enjoy spring weather and a safer dining option.

Beginning Monday, March 29, more than a dozen parallel parking spaces will once again be converted to outdoor seating areas. As with the 2020 Parking-to-Dining program, this is a temporary conversion of some parallel parking. Orange safety barriers will be placed along N. Salem Street to block off the 13 spaces.

Last summer, this program provided the needed space that allowed downtown businesses to regain some of the capacity lost during the pandemic.

Diners at the Salem Street Pub enjoy a meal in summer 2020.

“This program has been very beneficial for our business, guests, and staff members,” said Ryan Walters, general manager of the Salem Street Pub.“It has allowed us to have more guests, which otherwise would limit our seating severely and overall foot traffic. Many of our guests request to sit outside knowing that it is a safer dining option.”

Even though they weren’t serving food or beverages, downtown retailers also benefitted from the increased space for outdoor dining.

“The outside dining option for restaurants has undoubtedly increased foot traffic to my shop ultimately increasing sales as well,” said Heather Werking, owner of Werking Design & Decor. “The vibe outside is exactly what we need to motivate local spending and keep us retailers going!”

Given its success in 2020, and the continued restrictions to keep people safe and healthy, the Town of Apex is reinstating this program that supports and promotes the downtown business community.

“I’m excited to see the Parking-to-Dining program return in 2021,” said Mayor Jacques Gilbert. “This program keeps our business community moving forward, and the public safe with the expansion of outdoor dining options. I’m grateful for our team for their dedication and commitment to this initiative.”

Twenty on-street parallel spaces will remain for 3-hour parking, and all handicap spaces will remain accessible.

While the Parking-to-Dining program is temporary, the town has plans to permanently transform the Salem streetscape in the future.

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