Dunwoody’s Economic Development Department is connecting local restaurants with community groups to add a creative touch to outdoor dining. This picnic table was painted by the Dunwoody Fine Art Association for Vino Venue. CONTRIBUTED

Painted picnic tables promote Dunwoody outdoor dining

The city of Dunwoody Economic Development Department is encouraging local restaurants to add or expand outdoor dining with the painted picnic table project. The move is designed to make it easier for restaurants to meet social distancing requirements designed to protect against COVID-19.

To start the project, the Home Depot donated 24 picnic tables, plus primer, brushes and buckets. Then, city staff began reaching out to restaurants that might need picnic tables and community groups that might be interested in painting them.

“We see this as a creative way to engage the community and support local businesses,” said Dunwoody Economic Development Director Michael Starling. “We hope the painted picnic tables will help more restaurants and customers embrace outdoor dining.”

Vino Venue, Crema Espresso Gourmet, the Shops of Dunwoody, Perimeter Mall and NFA Burger have already signed on to the project. In fact, Billy Kramer, Dunwoody resident and founder of NFA Burger, liked the idea so much that he donated paint for the project. The Dunwoody Fine Arts Association, CREATE Dunwoody, the Dunwoody High School National Art Honor Society and local artists representing the Spruill Center for the Arts and the Dunwoody Preservation Trust have volunteered to paint tables.

A special permit is required before restaurants can join the painted picnic table project. In May, Dunwoody City Council passed a resolution creating a temporary outdoor restaurant permit, which allows restaurants to set up tables for customers in common areas and even parking spaces, in coordination with property owners. Seating must align with state executive orders, which currently require tables to be spaced at least six feet apart. The permit is free.

“This is a great way to showcase our community organizations by bringing color and art to outdoor dining,” said Rosemary Watts, Dunwoody’s business retention manager. “We’ve been encouraged by the enthusiasm of restaurants and community organizations and look forward to bringing more on board.”

Additional restaurants and community organizations interested in taking part can email Rosemary Watts, Dunwoody’s Business Retention Manager: rosemary.watts@dunwoodyga.gov

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