Guidelines for Downtown Sidewalk Café Application

To further encourage the revitalization and recovery of downtown businesses during COVID-19, the City of Eau Claire has issued an emergency order to expand the current Sidewalk Cafe permit (s. 13.12.062) in the downtown area and Water St. area to allow applicable restaurants to serve food and alcohol in adjacent premises. This ordinance expansion will go before the City Council for approval on June 23. If a complete application and supporting materials are submitted before July 23, all fees are waived for this year.

Please read the information below for a quick reference regarding eligibility and information required for submission. 

Sidewalk café: The expansion of a full-service restaurant to create an outdoor dining area on the public right of way immediately adjacent to the premise
  • Full-service restaurants are eligible, this means an establishment that has a restaurant license under chapter 8.16 of the city code, with food sales accounting for more than 50% of gross receipts.
  • Immediately adjacent — this is the area in front of the establishment extending laterally to the property lines.
    • A restaurant may request to extend the café setup beyond the immediate front of the property by 100 feet in either lateral direction. The applicant must provide written permission signed by the owner and any tenants of the building in front of which the sidewalk café is proposed to extend.
Downtown: For the purpose of this ordinance, downtown is defined as qualifying properties lying within the area bounded on the north by Cameron Street and William Street as extended to the Chippewa River, on the east by Dewey Street, on the south by Lake Street, and on the west by Fifth Avenue/Fulton Street/Whipple Street. The permitted area includes sidewalk located on both sides of a described boundary street.
  • Water Street —  defined as the qualifying properties lying within the area bounded on the north by Chippewa Street, on the east by Second Avenue, on the south by the Chippewa River, and on the west by Ninth Avenue. The permitted area includes sidewalk located on both sides of a described boundary street.

You will need to provide:

Application: The application for a permit to operate a sidewalk café will be submitted to Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. (downtown@eauclairewi.gov) for an initial review to make sure all necessary information is provided (the process could be delayed if all materials are not provided). It will then be submitted to the Engineering and Licensing Departments, and finally, will be reviewed by the License Review Committee. Be advised that if you have any outstanding payments due to the City your application will be held until those are paid.
  • Copy of a valid restaurant license; please provide even if one is already on file with the City.
  • Copy of a current certificate of insurance; you may need to request from your insurance provider; please provide even if one is already on file with the City,  (Commercial liability insurance in the amount of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence for bodily injury and property damage, with the city of Eau Claire named as an additional insured, shall show that the coverage extends to the area used for the sidewalk cafe.)
  • A scale drawing of the layout of the sidewalk area proposed for the café space. Drawing must include dimensions of the area, size, and layout of the tables, chairs, and location of doorways, trees, benches, and any other existing amenities or obstructions. (Sidewalk café area must show and maintain for a minimum of 4 feet of unobstructed pedestrian pathway and account for 6 feet of social distancing between tables.)
  • Photographs, drawings, or manufacturer’s brochures fully describing the appearance and dimensions of all proposed tables, chairs, umbrellas, and other objects related to the sidewalk café.
  • A non-refundable application fee, as stated in the Fees and Licensing schedule. *Fees are waived if application is received and approved before June 23.
  • Completed City application form (includes Hold Harmless Agreement).
Alcohol Service: The ordinance does allow for alcohol service within the street café area under certain conditions. Read the full ordinance regarding alcohol licensing and service for more details.

Questions?

Feel free to contact us via email (downtown@eauclairewi.gov) or call Aaron White, DECI Executive Director at 715-839-4914