June 24, 2020 by Carol Britton Meyer
Another two Hingham restaurants -- Alma Nove and Wahlburgers -- will offer expanded outside dining this summer.
This comes as good news to the community, eager to enjoy a sit-down meal after months of takeout and curbside pickup.
"Alan and Paul, we're happy you are getting your restaurants back online, and I know the public is looking forward to it," said Selectmen Karen Johnson following the board's approval of both proposals last night. Alan McKenna represented the restaurants at the hearing, and Paul Wahlberg -- who owns both Alma Nove and Wahlburgers -- was also on the line for the teleconference meeting. Both were pleased with the results.
Alma Nove will expand its outdoor seating on the grassy area near the existing outside patio, adding 36 seats at two- and four-top tables, with some couch seating with tables. The area will be enhanced with planters and some exterior lighting.
Wahlburgers will expand its existing outdoor seating onto a small portion of the adjacent walkway away from Shipyard Drive, adding a series of two- and four-top tables with 28 additional seats.
Both restaurants will adhere to social distancing requirements. No outdoor entertainment is allowed under COVID-19 regulations for outdoor dining at this time.
The next step is for the selectmen's office to file these approvals by email to the town clerk on Wednesday morning. Once Wahlberg receives confirmation that the plans have been filed, both Alma Nove and Wahlburgers will be "good to go" for opening their expanded seating.
Susan Murphy, real estate counsel for the town and a member of the Hingham restaurant reopening working group, explained that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health made that decision. "DPH said there should be no entertainment of any type allowed during this phase -- they're trying not to mix uses and want to avoid patrons settling in for the night. They want patrons to come, dine, and leave," she said. "Phase 4 will allow more bar use and entertainment."
Last week the Selectmen gave the go-ahead for the Square Cafe and the 99 Restaurant to temporarily offer a new outdoor dining experience and for Burtons Grill and the Boathouse Bistro to expand their outdoor seating.
All approvals are part of an expedited process that falls under state COVID-19 regulations.
These approvals include modifications to the restaurants' liquor licenses and the ability to provide new or additional outside table service to allow food and liquor to be served. Such approvals expire Nov. 1.
Gov. Charlie Baker granted approval for the lifting of indoor dining restrictions effective June 22 for restaurants that are ready to reopen their inside dining service.
For information about making reservations and for days and hours for outdoor dining, contact the individual restaurants.