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Outdoor tables taken away from uptown

DNC preparations leave uptown open-air diners with fewer places to sit

CHARLOTTE, N.C. People who work in uptown Charlotte and go outside to eat will have fewer seating options for the next week and a half.

The tables and chairs in the plaza in front of the Mint Museum Uptown, usually bustling during the workweek, are gone for now. The same is true in the nearby outdoor corridor between the Mint and the Duke Energy Center, and across Tryon Street at The Green and at Two Wells Fargo Center.

The properties are managed by Childress Klein. Clint Laster, a senior property manager at the company, said in an email that outdoor seating along South Tryon Street was removed in preparation for the Democratic National Convention and for last weekend’s Pride Charlotte Festival.

Laster would not comment further on the details of Childress Klein’s plan to prepare for the DNC, citing the convention’s status as a national security event.

Ron Stake, manager of Matt’s Chicago Dog at The Green, said some of his customers have asked him what happened to the park’s outdoor tables and chairs. He said they understood when he explained they were removed for the DNC.

“They’re just starting early and getting prepared because nobody is sure what to expect when this thing goes down,” Stake said.

One Matt’s customer, Angie Smithe, chose to sit on a brick ledge at The Green while she ate her lunch on Tuesday. Smithe works in the nearby NASCAR Plaza tower and said she often comes to The Green to buy food. She said she thinks it’s “a shame” that visitors in town for the convention won’t have as many places to sit when they come uptown. But she wasn’t upset about having to sit on a ledge in the park during her lunch break.

“I know it’s temporary,” Smithe said. “It’s unfortunate, but I know it’s required since there are going to be protesters coming.”

A spokeswoman for the city said outdoor dining will be permitted during the DNC, but some uptown restaurants have been advised by law enforcement to bring their outdoor furniture inside after closing.

e2 emeril’s eatery, located around the corner from the Mint on the Levine Avenue of the Arts, will continue to offer outdoor seating during the convention. The restaurant, not the property manager, owns e2’s outdoor furniture.

Jeff Wakem, general manager of e2, said the restaurant’s seven tables and 28 chairs will be brought inside each night when the restaurant closes as a safety precaution. He said the tables and chairs will be moved to prevent damage.

Some restaurants farther north on Tryon Street, such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House and The Capital Grille, said they will also continue to offer outdoor seating through the convention.

The e2 go sandwich and salad shop that’s connected to e2, won’t have outdoor seating during the DNC. Wakem, the general manager, said he was warned in advance that the outside chairs and tables between the Mint and the Duke Energy Center would be taking a hiatus. He isn’t upset about their absence.

“Everybody just needs to be a little understanding of everything going on in the city right now so we have a successful event,” Wakem said.

Wakem said he didn’t think e2 go’s business would be hurt by the lack of outdoor seating.

“We’re pretty lucky,” he said. “A lot of our guests take stuff back to the office.”

Ross: 704-358-5170
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