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Flower City

Winter Sidewalks


Let’s get creative with Rochester’s outdoor spaces!


Some restaurants and bars may find it challenging to maintain safe distances between customers while accommodating enough customers to stay in business through the winter months. To tackle that problem, businesses all over the country are using temporary structures like greenhouses, igloos, tents, and custom builds to provide a unique dining experience during these challenging times.


The City of Rochester wants to help businesses as they work toward providing outdoor winter seating, whether it is on sidewalks and streets or on private property. If you are interested in having outdoor seating, ALL PERMIT FEES WILL BE WAIVED.


We encourage interested businesses to apply for participation as soon as possible. Below are the different options available to restaurants and bars, including links to permit applications. 


Guidelines to consider before applying: 

OPTION 1:  Winter Greenhouse Program (applications are closed)

Mayor Lovey A. Warren and Roc Holiday Village, in partnership with the Rochester Area Community Foundation and ESL Federal Credit Union, have provided free winter greenhouses for 25 city restaurants to offer outdoor dining options during the coronavirus pandemic. Construction of the greenhouses began on February 1st, and were distributed through a city-wide lottery system designed to select winners in all 4 quadrants of the city. Other programs sponsors include Rochester Regional Health, the Anthony Butera Team at Keller Williams, 13 WHAM, CW, Fox Rochester, and iHeartMedia.

The winter greenhouses provide restaurants an opportunity to extend their business space outside and remain compliant with State coronavirus guidelines. The City is waiving outdoor dining permit fees during the pandemic and has developed a streamlined permitting process to facilitate a fast and safe opening. There is also no fee for the setup and take down of the structure. To learn more about the program, visit


Greenhouses can be found at the following restaurants. Call or check their website if you’re interested in reserving a time for a unique dining experience!  Please continue to support these and other great businesses in Rochester during this challenging time.


·       Branca Midtown (280 E Broad St.)

·       Brass Lounge (363 East Ave.)

·       Carroll's Bar (1768 East Main St.)

·       Charlotte Tavern (2 River St.)

·       Condado Bar and Grill (2260 Clifford Ave.)

·       Dorado (690 Park Ave.)

·       Dragonfly Tavern (725 Park Ave.)

·       Hose 22 Firehouse Grill (56 Stutson St.)

·       Jines Restaurant (658 Park Ave.)

·       Kandis's (701 Lake Ave.)

·       Living Roots Wine & Co. (1255 University Ave.)

·       Ludwigs Cafe (Gibbs St.)

·       Magnolia's Deli & Cafe (366 Park Ave.)

·       Main Place Tavern (1899 E Main St.)

·       Panzari's Italian Bistro (321 Exchange Blvd.)

·       Riot Room (350 East Ave.)

·       Roam Cafe (260 Park Ave.)

·       Swan Dive (289 Alexander St.)

·       Tap and Mallet (381 Gregory St.)

·       Temple Bar & Grill (109 East Ave.)

·       The Distillery (1142 Mt Hope Ave.)

·       The Gate House (Village Gate)

·       The Hideaway (197 Park Ave.)

·       The Revelry (1290 University Ave.)

·       Veneto's Wood Fired Pizza & Pasta (318 East Ave.)

If you did not participate or were not selected in the lottery, there are other options for purchasing, renting, or even constructing your own temporary structure/tent, as described below in Options 2A and 2B. All options are subject to the guidelines and requirements listed above.

OPTION 2A:  Restaurant’s Supply Their Own Structure/Tent in the Public Right-of-Way (Sidewalk Café Permit)

Certain portions of the public right-of-way, including on-street parking lanes and areas adjacent to sidewalks such as tree lawns, may be temporarily converted to outdoor seating for adjacent businesses. Please visit the City’s Right-of-Way Permits site if you’re interested and apply for a Sidewalk Café Permit. While this is not a new permit type, due to the current health restrictions in place, the City is waiving the permit fees and has included additional stipulations related to social distancing. Safe and accessible pedestrian and wheelchair traffic will need to be accommodated.


Once the required information is submitted, City staff will follow up quickly with any modifications or revisions to ensure that you are in compliance.


OPTION 2B:  Restaurants Supply Their Own Structure/Tent on Private Property (Enclosed Accessory Outdoor Area Permit)

This is a new option to allow restaurants and bars to use their parking area or other spaces on their property for outdoor seating. To allow businesses to utilize parking lots, requirements for a minimum number of parking spaces are temporarily being waived for applicants. There is no fee for applying.


Once the required information is submitted, City staff will follow up quickly with any modifications or revisions to ensure that you are in compliance.



Greenhouse Program
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