Sept. 22, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
The longstanding Bel Aire Diner is jumping on Astoria’s outdoor seating trend.
The diner, located at 21st Street and Broadway, was approved by Community Board 1 on Monday to serve customers at eight outdoor tables with 16 seats. These tables will be lined up on Broadway adjacent to the diner.
Sidewalk seating has become popular among Astoria’s restaurants and coffee shops, noticeably along 30th Avenue. However they are not typical of diners, according to CB 1, which approves outdoor café applications.
“It is a novel application. I’ve never heard of a diner having an unenclosed sidewalk café,” CB 1 Consumer Affairs chair Joe Risi said. “Not that it’s a bad thing.”
“We just want to change it up a little,” owner Patricia Dellaportas said. “Times are changing – everybody has outdoor seating.”
Dellaportas owns the Bel Aire with her husband Archie, who has been interested in opening outdoor seating for years, she said. Now that their kids are older and help run the diner, they have made it a priority.
“During the week, when it’s nice out, it’s harder to get people to come inside –everybody wants to be outside and eat,” she added. “So I think it’ll work.”
The Bel Aire Diner is open 24/7, but the outdoor seating area would be open from roughly 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., a manager said.