Best New Law

Ordinance 030692 -- Allowing Sidewalk Seating for Restaurants

OK, we know that technically Ordinance 030692 doesn't qualify for this year's Best Of; the law, which repealed old, fuddy-duddy restrictions on setting up tables and serving alcohol outside restaurants, passed in June 2003, well before last year's Best Of came out. But we're sneaking it through anyway because we didn't really start feeling the benefits of the law until this past spring, when sidewalk cafés started springing up outside restaurants around Kansas City, Missouri. We're especially fond of the wrought-iron tables outside Fric & Frac, the smoky, grease-reeking dive on 39th Street's Restaurant Row; we love eating there but used to have to take a shower afterward. Now we lounge around outside on warm summer evenings, decadently indulging in barbecue burgers and curly fries and joyously drinking beer outside (where it was meant to be drunk at least part of the time). The whole city feels more open and lively, which is just what Mayor Kay Barnes and Councilwoman Bonnie Sue Cooper had in mind when they sponsored the ordinance. OK, the mayor did, in one of her trademark hyperbolic statements comparing KC to some romantic Old World European destination, suggest that the law would make us just like Venice. A year later, we're happy just to be a little more like Denver.

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