Miguel Arias speaks at a news conference Friday next to representatives from Kocky's, The Modernist and Zack's Brewing. Photo by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
Fresno City officials and business leaders gathered in front of Kocky’s Bar & Grill on Friday to celebrate the construction of new parklets and expanded outdoor dining areas for eateries and bars in Downtown Fresno.
Along with Kocky’s, Modernist Mixology and Fulton St. Coffee Roasters will also be installing parklets as part of the City of Fresno’s Outdoor Dining Grant.
Zack’s Brewing Company will be installing an outdoor patio with greenery and outdoor lighting.
Each business participating in the Downtown Fresno Parklet Program received a $25,000 grant from the city’s CARES Act fund.
The Downtown Fresno Foundation contributed $5,000 for the creation of two of the parklets for the program.
Other local restaurants and bars that will receive funding for a parklet include Tioga Sequoia Brewing Co., The Revue, FAB, Richie’s Pizza and Hot Dogs, Cuca’s Restaurant and Full Circle Brewing Co., said Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias, adding they are currently in the design and construction stages.
“Our hope is that as we get to the cooler weather of the fall, this will allow for some of our businesses to continue their experiences with outdoor dining, expand their amount of square footage to keep customers safe and ,most importantly, survive through the pandemic so that when we all get through this in 2021, they still exist and are a part of our business fabric,” Arias said.
The parklets and patio expansions are being built by local construction companies, which keep the tax revenue dollars in the city and provides support for local businesses, Arias added.
Michael Smith, co-owner of Kocky’s, said he reached out to the city for assistance after the pandemic lockdown caused the business to lose about 90% of its sales.
Smith found out about the parklet program and told Arias he wanted to be involved.
“I’m glad for this parklet and the opportunity to have outdoor dining to increase business for us. We were closed for six months and only did to-go orders. I will take advantage of this outdoor dining,” Smith said.
There will be four tables and a bar set up in Kocky’s outlet, which allows space for about 15 diners, Smith said.
Modernist Mixology, more commonly referred to as The Modernist locally, had its grand opening about a month before the pandemic hit the U.S., but still managed to grow its base since the shutdowns.
“As a cocktail bar, we never thought we would have to serve outside,” said co-owner Po Tsai. “That’s been an adventure to say the least, but realistically, it’s about survival and we couldn’t really make it without all the support we are receiving. Thank you all and thank you to the entire community for supporting Downtown Fresno.”