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‘Newton Al Fresco’ to bring outdoor dining to city starting April 1

Outdoor dining at Thistle & Leek on Union Street in Newton Centre last fall.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

“Newton Al Fresco,” a local program to encourage outdoor dining and help restaurants amid the pandemic, is expected to begin April 1, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said in a statement.

“Given how much we love our favorite Newton restaurants, how important they are to village life, and the difficult year they have endured, we are looking to build upon and expand our efforts to encourage outdoor dining,” Fuller said.

Last spring, restaurants were allowed to set up outdoor seating on adjacent parking lots, sidewalks, and on-street parking spaces. The city also created communal outdoor areas in village centers with picnic tables for people to eat takeout meals.


This year’s program will expand those offerings, and city outdoor communal dining areas will feature improvements, including new painted bistro tables, umbrellas, and solar lighting, Fuller said, thanks to the help of the mayor’s Cultural Affairs office and Newton Community Pride.

The dining areas will be opened up at the Newton Centre Green and the Langley “Triangle” Lot; Rodney Barker Square in Newton Highlands; West Newton’s Elm Street lot and Captain Ryan Park; Newtonville’s Austin Street lot; and Colletti Magni Park in Nonantum.

Restaurants also will be able to request permission from the city to use more public parking spaces for outdoor dining, if they have the written support of their neighbors, Fuller said.

The city’s Economic Development and Planning staff, the Ward 6 city councilors, and local restaurants have worked together to expand on-street dining along Union Street in Newton Centre, Fuller said.

Police will enforce a two-hour parking time limit to help with parking turnover along Union Street, she said. Parking along the street and elsewhere in the city remains free of charge.

John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.