Downtown Niles transformed into outdoor dining district

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NILES, Mich. -- The City of Niles transforming downtown into an outdoor dining district all to support restaurants just trying remain open amid the pandemic restrictions.

“The plan is to fill this space with tables, chairs, we’ll have outdoor games, we’re working on an entertainment area with bands and performers,” said Mayor Nick Shelton.

They say the process has been made as simple as possible – where people can swing in a restaurant to pick up their order or even have it delivered to their table.

“We’ll have menus, a QR code that you can take a picture of that’ll take you to a landing page where you can order your food down here,” said Shelton.

Not only will it be a place for people to enjoy, but will provide relief to restaurants struggling to survive the continued shutdown to diners.

“It’s hard being 10 minutes away from South Bend where everything’s pretty much opened up and people just go down there to eat, and I think people need a little bit of social life, it’s a good thing,” said James Morris, owner of Jim’s Smokin’ Café.

And hoping people won’t let the cold deter them from coming down.

“We live in Michigan where you grow up skiing and partying in the snow so what difference does it make if it’s downtown while you’re eating a meal,” said Morris.

The outdoor dining district is only set to run through the end of December, but Mayor Shelton said the board could extend it if this ends up being a success – so people are urged to come out and make that happen.

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