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Mayor Keller Announces New Outdoor Dining Grant Program for Restaurants

$200,000 for local cafes and restaurants build outdoor dining space, stay afloat during pandemic

In the midst of a global pandemic and with indoor dining again prohibited by the State, many local cafes and restaurants are struggling to stay open. Outdoor dining and patio spaces are keeping many places from going under, and today Mayor Keller announced a new grant program to help restaurants, cafes, and breweries build outdoor dining space. 

“For local restaurants, cafes and breweries, this isn’t just a question of getting through a couple months of restrictions anymore, this is about bracing for the long haul,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “We’re helping give these local business a little bit bigger margin to stay afloat with our new grant program to build outdoor dining space, including tent rental or purchase. We already waived permitting and inspection fees to expand outdoor seating, and now locally owned restaurants can get thousands in funding to build out their patios on sidewalks, parklets and some targeted street closures.”

Through the City of Albuquerque’s new outdoor dining grant program, the Economic Development Department will work in coordination with other City departments to identify and provide financial support ranging from $2500 to $10,000 to local restaurants and cafes with viable plans to mitigate business interruption losses by expanding the outdoor dining options for their customers. There is a total of $200,000 available.

Utilizing funding provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the City is making grants available to support restaurants, cafes, and food trucks in setting up and operating the following types of outdoor dining options:

  • Public sidewalks,
  • Parklets,
  • Private parking lots, and
  • Limited street closures.

“When we went to apply for the permits, they made it relatively easy for us and everyone was very accommodating,” said Dan Garcia, owner of Garcia’s Kitchen. “This has been a hard struggle, and if we couldn’t put the tent out here it would’ve been really hard for us to survive.”

The City of Albuquerque has already been helping local eateries expand their outdoor seating by waiving permitting and inspection fees for building out patios. The City has issued these to over 30 restaurants and breweries, with a dozen more pending. 

Local eateries can find out more about the grant funding process by going to cabq.gov/outdoor-dining.  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has also taken measures to support local businesses that including waiving fees.  Fees have been waived for restaurants working to add outdoor seating capacity as a way to get diners back quickly and safely, which usually brings in millions of dollars in revenue for the City. Additionally, the City will waive fees for inspections on commercial swimming pools, restaurant inspections, food trucks permits, and growers market permits for all of 2020. The City is automatically refunding any businesses that have already paid permit fees for calendar year 2020.