The Beach House Cafe in Old Greenwich wants more outdoor seating – and is willing to give up indoor seating for it

GREENWICH – A popular and prominent restaurant in Old Greenwich is due for refurbishment and more outdoor seating, following an industry trend.

Like many restaurants struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, the Beach House Cafe is looking to add outdoor space to its operation. A proposal recently submitted to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission would add 32 new rear seats and an outdoor pergola.

The restaurant currently has 125 indoor seats and 12 outdoor seats. The proposal would reduce the number of interior seats to 76 and create 48 exterior spaces: 16 in the front and 32 in the back. The restaurant is allowed to have 137 covers, and the number of covers would decrease to 124, depending on demand.

The proposal to the planning commission also calls for renovations to the interior and exterior of the structure at 220 Sound Beach Ave. and a new glass canopy.

A new staircase would be built to serve the rear tables, according to the application file recently submitted to the town hall.

Outdoor dining areas have become a valuable asset for restaurants as the industry grapples with the disruption caused by the pandemic. Many industry experts say the outdoor dining trend, along with a number of new innovations in the restaurant world that reduce labor costs and expand technology, are here to to stay.

A message requesting a comment left with restaurant management was not immediately returned.

The owner of the property, 220 Sound Beach Avenue LLC and businessman Richard Saunders, are the candidates for the project.

The popular restaurant has seen a number of changes over the years, altering the menu significantly when ownership changed hands in 2016. Chef and restaurant owner Kane Xu added an Asian twist to the seafood offerings and additional meals for children.

Outdoor catering operations in Greenwich, with barriers and temporary structures, were approved by the Board of Selectmen this week. From April 15 to November 20, restaurants can put up barriers around at least three and at most four parking spaces to reserve space for outdoor dining.

Viral transmission is limited outdoors, according to epidemiology experts.

The examination of the request for restructuring and renovation of the Beach House has not yet been scheduled by the town planning commission.

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