Tampico open patio

Downtown restaurant continues its improvements

JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times Assistant Manager Kathleen Harmon and shift lead Jim Hodges discuss staffing for the Ohio River Sternweel Festival weekend Friday in the new patio at Tampico Mexican Restaurant.

It’s expansion year for Marietta’s downtown Mexican restaurant.

“We got new counters, a new server station, a chip machine, margarita machine and daiquiri blender and a new bar,” beamed Kathleen Harmon, assistant manager of Tampico, on Friday. “And we got the (city) council blessing for the patio out front so now we’re just hoping the tables get in by sternweel festival and (we’re hoping) for good weather.”

The restaurant added the 15.5-foot bar just before Cinco de Mayo and is still seeing nightly upgrades in preparation for the outdoor seating.

“They moved this whole wall to our attic storage so that they could put in the door,” explained Harmon. “But once it was in we realized that’s not a door handle servers can use while carrying food, so it will change to a push door with a bolt.”

Other upgrades include a full bar, which has neighbor and co-owner of Marietta Adventure Company Hallie Thomas excited.

“It’s nice to have the bar there now especially if you go for lunch by yourself and don’t want to take a whole table, it’s more personal,” she said.

The new enclosed patio does limit sidewalk access a bit, she acknowledged.

“Sure, it’s a little abrupt for bikers because it’s so big and there aren’t tables out on the sidewalk yet but change is good and exciting for any downtown business,” she said.

The metalwork for the new patio is installed into the new concrete sidewalk, which Harmon said came after concerns from patrons using wheelchairs.

“The sidewalk was so rough before and now it’s all smooth,” she explained.

And the brown fence sits at approximately three feet high, with four sides from the main entrance turning at an angle before a tree planter, then turning again to follow the line of the road to the building’s end before turning back to the building.

Councilwoman Kathy Downer, chairwoman of the streets committee that blessed the patio enclosure, said she’s unsure of the impact the gates will have on pedestrian traffic.

“I’ve had a couple people voice concerns, and I take full responsibility,” she said Thursday. “But it is ADA compliant and near the tree planter the gate’s at an angle so that wheelchairs can get through.”

Harmon said Downer had indicated the city trash bin across the sidewalk from the angled walk-around would be moved and said the business may consider additional work to the city’s tree planter.

“I don’t make those decisions but we’ll welcome bikers chaining up to come eat and the gates are removable for snow in the winter,” Harmon added.

The patio is expected to hold five to eight tables, she continued.

“But it’s really a trial and error like having the bar and getting used to the new kind of traffic,” Harmon explained. “We’re busy at the bar during First Fridays, and if the numbers increase we’ll look at staying open later.”

The city’s engineering department confirmed Thursday that the patio is ADA compliant for travel around the enclosure, with a minimum of four feet of clearance.

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