Before this summer really heated up, Lombard trustees had a vision of more people eating outside at downtown restaurants and cafes.
They voted in May to waive the permit fee for creating such outdoor seating areas in hopes that bringing more dining patrons outside would create a visible sign of downtown revitalization.
Almost three months after the fee was waived, three downtown Lombard restaurants have added outdoor eating areas.
"The village working with us definitely helped," said Colleen Whittington, publicity chairwoman for the downtown promotion organization Lombard Town Centre. "So far, those (restaurants) that really were interested have taken advantage of it."
Punky's Pub at 16 S. Park Ave., Capone's Restaurant at 105 W. St. Charles Road, and The Corner House at 100 W. St. Charles Road, all added tables and chairs outside this summer.
Patrons have enjoyed the three outdoor tables in front of Punky's, but only when extreme temperatures have given way to more regular summer warmth, owner Betty Shissler said.
"On the cooler nights where we've had a handful of people, we're very enthused about it," Shissler said. "I'm sure it's going to go over very well as soon as the weather gets normal again."
Punky's, Capones and The Corner House join the four other downtown restaurants -- Brix Woodfired Pizza, Cafe 101, Praga Restaurant and Bon Ton Bar -- that offer outdoor seating areas, bringing the total to nine spots offering food and beverage service outside.
A couple more eateries expected to open next month also could apply for outdoor dining permits and have the fees waived, Bill Heniff, community development director, said.
Shannon's Corner Butcher Shoppe at 15 S. Park Ave. is planning to open a deli a couple doors down as soon as mid-August, and Whittington said a wine-tasting bar is scheduled to open soon in the St. Charles Road location formerly held by Curves fitness center. Both have expressed interest in outdoor patio seating.
"Hopefully we won't have too many more 100-degree days so people can actually feel more comfortable sitting outside," Whittington said.