The Dorchester Avenue restaurant dbar received the approval of the Columbia Savin Hill Civic Association’s planning committee on its bid to make their Covid-era patio area a permanent fixture. The panel okayed the move unanimously last Tuesday night.
Mitch Hayes and Brian Piccini, dbar’s owners, told association members that they had implemented the extended patio in June 2020 as a means of trying to survive Covid-19 regulations. It has gone over so well, they said, that they now want to make it permanent through an upcoming Licensing Board process.
By using a back part of the parking lot and outfitting it with two 8-by-20 cargo containers and some creative construction, the restaurant was able to create a space to complement their existing patio behind the restaurant.
“Having that patio extension is what helped us survive,” said Piccini, who opened dbar in 2005. “The patio there helped us get through 2020 using heat lamps and social distancing. It got us through the pandemic and now it’s become an integral part of what we do…We can’t imagine dbar without this space now.”
The extended space has protection, but it is still exposed to the elements. It remains usable in colder temperatures via heat lamps.
“We were very excited to bring in local artists to paint the space,” said Hayes. “The patio has recently allowed us to give back in many ways. The smaller patio doesn’t allow us to do fundraisers. Now we have a whole outside area with heat lamps and lighting. We’ve donated the space out to many organizations. Guests have really loved it.”
Neighbors were enthusiastic and cast a rare unanimous vote in approval of the plan.
“I will support their proposal,” said Eileen Fenton, a planning committee member. “They’ve been around a long time and this was one of Brian’s first restaurants and he’s moved on to very big and successful restaurants in the city. He’s stayed on there and it’s a great addition to the neighborhood.”