Taproom Coffee & Beer installs parklet in KirkwoodTaproom Coffee & Beer installed a parklet earlier this year. Photo courtesy Taproom Coffee & Beer.
By Patrick Saunders, contributor
Atlanta, GA — Taproom Coffee & Beer was one of a select few businesses to win a parklet grant from the city of Atlanta, expanding seating into the street and giving the Kirkwood spot some much-needed pandemic help.
“Before we reopened our indoor seating, the parklet and expanded outdoor seating was our only option for customers to sit and enjoy their coffee at Taproom,” owner Jonathan Pascual told Decaturish. “The visual prominence of the parklet was also great for people knowing we were open and that we had seating available.”
“As long as weather permits, the parklet is a great asset for us,” he added.
Taproom won the grant earlier this year. It covered the application process, permits and installation of barriers in the temporary parklet. Taproom staff added tables, chairs and planters after that. The city will come out to raise the parklet floor to be flush with the curb next.
Taproom may be able to renew the parklet permit when the current one expires at the end of the year, according to Pascual.
“We may have to provide our own barriers or flooring at that time, but I would hope that we get to keep whatever the city has installed under the parklet grant,” he said.
Taproom took a big hit to its business due to the COVID-19 pandemic just like almost everyone else.
“But our extremely loyal customer base saved us,” he said. “We’re also very fortunate that coffee was already considered a grab-and-go product, so it wasn’t a huge pivot for us to switch to mobile ordering and pickup-only last year.”
“As things have gradually reopened, we’ve now returned to almost-normal sales levels,” he added.
The city of Atlanta launched the parklet program in January to support public health guidelines for local bars, coffee shops and restaurants. It’s unclear if there will be future rounds of parklet funding. Parklets designed to last more than a couple months typically cost between $20,000 to $50,000, according to the Department of City Planning.
Taproom Coffee & Beer opened on Hosea Williams Drive in 2014.
Pascual raised money via a Kickstarter campaign to cover most of Taproom’s startup costs. The restaurant received around $20,000 in donations. Pascual got the idea for Taproom when he observed that people who loved craft beers also tended to be people who loved specialty coffee, and vice versa.
Pascual earned his barista chops at Starbucks, opened and managed independent coffee shops for Chattahoochee Coffee Company and Land of a Thousand Hills, and also helped to set up the coffee bar at Empire State South before opening Taproom.
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