For the week of July 8 thru July 14, 1998  

European-style outdoor dining comes to Ketchum

Restaurant gets permission to put tables on sidewalk

Express Staff Writer

Sidewalk cafes, such as those lining the streets of Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam, may become a common sight in Ketchum.

Calling to mind the experience of European outdoor dining, James Frehling asked the Ketchum City Council to allow it to happen in a western ski town as well.

The council voted to grant Frehling a right-of-way exemption so he may place seven tables outside his restaurant, Esta, which is on Main Street next to the Kentwood Lodge.

Armed with a petition of 400 customers, Frehling, who co-owns the restaurant with Esta Hornstein, convinced the council that sidewalk dining could only benefit the town.

"As delightful as it is to be outside, the opportunities to do so are few and far between," Frehling said. "There are just storefronts with no place to eat."

Frehling, who has owned the restaurant since August 1997, had put the tables on the sidewalk earlier this spring. He said he was unaware that he needed permission to do so until a city planner brought it to his attention in June.

The problem was that his tables were in the city’s right of way, the five-foot minimum width required for pedestrian walkways.

"Everyone who came in was heartbroken that they couldn’t eat outside," said Hornstein.

Frehling initially proposed to the council that his tables be located between existing sidewalk trees near the curb. The council expressed concern that this would put customers too close to the street and potential safety hazards.

"I would hate to see someone get swiped by a car’s bumper," said Council Member Dave Hutchinson.

Frehling agreed to move the tables closer to the building.

"If the seating can accommodate pedestrian access, it’s a wonderful idea," said Council Member Chris Potters. "It should be allowed for any business as long as it’s an existing business that’s enclosed indoors. We don’t want hot dog stands springing up all over."


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