$2.5 million investment in outdoor dining culminates in ‘Taste of Chicago Alfresco Week’

Brown Sugar Bakery
Dorothy Hill performs outside of Brown Sugar Bakery in Chatham on Sunday, as part of a celebration kicking off Taste of Chicago Alfresco Week. Photo credit Office of the Chicago Mayor

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) —  Over a dozen Chicago neighborhoods are showing off recent outdoor dining improvements this week during the city’s Taste of Chicago Alfresco Week, which began Sunday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, along with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Choose Chicago, announced the weeklong event to celebrate the Chicago Alfresco program, which was created during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Chicago Alfresco program is an important part of CDOT’s goals of putting our streets and public way in service of what people need and want in their neighborhoods,” said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi.

“The new installations throughout Chicago will allow residents and visitors to come together and enjoy the neighborhoods’ food, arts, and culture in a shared space," she added.

The city awarded grants totaling $2.5 million to 16 community locations to expand its outdoor opportunities.

"As devastating as the pandemic was, it provided opportunities for renewed and reimagined economic growth through programs like Chicago Alfresco," said Lightfoot. “The City will continue investing in and advertising our neighborhoods' vitality and outdoor entertainment options found throughout our city."

Some neighborhoods have used the funds to create public seating. Others added performance spaces, murals, and art installations throughout the city.

Chicago Alfresco locations include the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Humboldt Park and Jarvis Square in Rogers Park.

Find the full list of Chicago Alfresco project proposals here.

The event runs through Oct. 16.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Office of the Chicago Mayor