Patios in a Pandemic

1_5020583Who doesn’t enjoy sitting on a patio on a sunny summer day, sipping their favorite beverage or indulging in a picnic that is prepared by someone else and delivered to your table? Why is it then, that it took a world pandemic for cities like Windsor to get their heads out of their arses and do the patio thing right.

Other cities have been doing it for years, and not just in Europe. Restaurants and bars have been after the city for years, trying to give patrons what they want, allowing them to enjoy the long summer season that our area has to offer. Past downtown business owners must be cursing the city, seeing the success newer establishments are enjoying.

Back in the dinosaur age, when I used to walk a beat downtown, I couldn’t understand why they didn’t shut down Ouellette avenue. There was barely any place to park on the street and it eventually had to be barricaded because of bumper to bumper traffic that cruised up and down the strip.

But hell no, we couldn’t do that permanently. Where else would those ten cars park and how could businesses take deliveries? There’s something else I learned working downtown – there are alleys that run behind all those businesses and parking garages that very rarely operate at capacity.

So, I guess there really wasn’t any good reason to allow patios to expand onto sidewalks and into parking spots, because I haven’t heard anyone complaining about it. If you haven’t seen what’s happening in Leamington, Kingsville, Essex, Belle River, Amherstburg, and even good old Windsor, check it out. Cold drinks and good grub await you in pandemic patio paradise.

Destination Kingsville

kingsvilleAfter retiring I worked for Niagara Wine Tours, a company who was trying to expand into the Lake Erie North Shore region. They were already tapped into the Toronto market and thought the wine industry in Essex County was ripe for the picking. Unfortunately the company couldn’t garner enough interest to keep them afloat. The main complaint from out-of-town tourists was our lack of places to stay.

Fast-forward about ten years and we have fifteen wineries and almost as many breweries or brew-pubs. Existing estates expanded to accommodate tour buses and gatherings such as wedding receptions. Bars and restaurants got in on the action by offering local vintages and brews.

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The Grove Brew House

18221824_448953188785097_1230751276462164033_nWe have a new stop to add to our annual Kingsville Krawl – the Grove Brew House. It’s right on the main drag and attached to its own Inn, formerly the King’s Inn. Cathryn and I checked it out, sampling their craft beers and two appetizers during a late afternoon visit.

The Inn has been refurbished and a brand new brewery has been built beside it where the outdoor patio once was. Although the two buildings are attached, I don’t think they blend well architecturally. That doesn’t seem to matter to the people who have been filling the place on a regular basis.

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