Whiteville to consider sidewalk dining ordinance

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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — From fine dining to southern soul food Columbus County residents say you can get it all in Whiteville. However, if you were planning on sitting outside and enjoying your dinner you’re out of luck. One business owner is now seeking to change all of that.

“I thought the best way to bring some of my culture would be to put tables and chairs outside,” said restaurant owner Guillaume Slama. “When I tried to that I was nicely, gently, politely told not to do that and that I had to remove my tables and chairs.”

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Since the state of North Carolina maintains highway 701 which runs through downtown Whiteville, restaurant owners weren’t allowed to put tables and chairs on the sidewalk until House Bill 192 was signed into law last July, but the City of Whiteville still has to pass their own legislation first.

“It’s just becoming so common in other areas that I figured it would come one day because other towns are doing it, so I figured that sooner or later we would work out a way to do it in Whiteville,” said Whiteville Mayor Terry Mann.

Like many of the dishes at Sophie’s Restaurant, restaurant owner Guillaume Slama says outdoor seating is just another small ingredient that could go a long way for downtown.

“When you look at a street and there’s nothing on the street it looks dead,” said Slama. “The minute you put a table and chairs it creates something. It creates an invitation where people want to come in and they want to sit down and they want to try something.”

The Whiteville City Council will be meeting at 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday at City Hall for a workshop to discuss what they should and shouldn’t include in any proposed sidewalk ordinance.