Trio of South Haven Businesses Seek Outdoor Cafe License Approval

If there’s one thing that the pandemic has accomplished on the bright side of the equation, it has gotten more of us into the great outdoors to enjoy a meal at our favorite diner, restaurant or even bar. Some cities have crafted “entertainment districts” to allow for use of sidewalks and even streetscapes for expanded dining, and in the city of St. Joseph an experimental Pleasant Street Plaza arrangement allowed a pair of restaurants to spill into a closed off street on weekends through the summer.

South Haven city officials are being asked to approve cafe license agreements for outdoor dining and alcohol services at three businesses when they meet on Monday evening. The three include:

  • Taste, at 402 Phoenix Street
  • Black River Tavern at 403 Phoenix Street
  • New Holland Brewing Company at 253 Center Street

Taste and Black River Tavern, on opposite sides of the street from one another, are both restaurants operating in the central business district who have already operated street side dining in the community and are seeking renewal of their licenses to continue doing so. New Holland Brewery is seeking an initial agreement to allow outdoor dining and alcohol service along Center Street.

The South Haven Planning Commission approved the special use permits for both Taste and Black River Tavern in December of 2013, and the DDA approved their outdoor furniture plans in February of 2014.

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The Planning Commission approved a special use permit for outdoor dining at the new operation for New Holland Brewery during their meeting earlier this month on October 1st. Additionally, the DDA has approved their outdoor furniture plan as part of the Center Street Project. New Holland is opening a spirits and wine tasting room featuring spirits, seltzers and cider products with a small appetizer menu.

The city will take up approval of the licenses Monday night for agreements that include terms such as:

  • Allowance for customer seating to occur until 11pm.
  • Restrictions on use of DDA approved furniture and layout plans.
  • Requirement for the city to be provided with certificates of insurance.
  • Requirement that a designated clear path be maintained, allowing pedestrians to use the city’s sidewalks.
  • Requirement that if alcohol services is to be provided at the outdoor dining location, the owner be in compliance with Michigan Liquor Control Commission rules and regulations.

The photo accompanying this story on Moody on the Market depicting outdoor dining is for illustration purposes only and does not depict the actual arrangement for any of the establishments in question on Monday night in South Haven.