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Photo: McCarty Mills Taproom (Aurora Downtown) 

As Aurora and the entire state prepares to move into Phase 3 under the Restore Illinois framework, several businesses will start to reopen in downtown. Salons are starting to accept appointments again, and outdoor dining at restaurants will begin.

Retail shops will also reopen with social distancing, and no more than 50 percent occupancy. Face coverings will continue to be prevalent.

In this new normal, Aurorans have proved, once again, that we are stronger together. It’s been restorative to see a city that is united in wanting to stay healthy and safe, and also care for each other.

In recent weeks, Aurora Downtown has been working with city staff to ensure that downtown restaurants have adequate and safe outdoor dining options as businesses start to reopen.

Restaurant goers will see part of Pinney Street, parking spaces on Stolp Avenue and Downer, and sidewalks all turned into outdoor dining spaces.

This summer, outdoor dining will be an important component for the survival of restaurants in addition to carry-out and delivery.

Several downtown restaurants quickly adapted to curbside pickup, and a Friday night can see lines of cars along New York Street waiting for Ballydoyle, Doughball’s, or Gillerson’s Grubbery.

Outdoor dining will be another learning curve for restaurants as they navigate outdoor dining guidelines and implement safety measures.

Outdoor Dining

On May 29, Ballydoyle at 28 W. New York St. and La Quinta de los Reyes at 36 E. New York St. will both offer outdoor dining. Both restaurants will utilize their current outdoor dining spaces in the rear, and Ballydoyle will add additional tables to the sidewalk along New York Street that will also serve Doughball’s Pizza.

On June 3, Pinney Street behind Restaurant Row will partially close to serve the following restaurants: Endiro Coffee, Gillerson’s Grubbery, and U Samba? Cafe.

Altiro Latin Fusion will soon begin offering outdoor dining on the sidewalk adjacent to Galena Boulevard. Society 57 plans to add outdoor seating adjacent to their building on both River and Benton streets. Check their social media pages for more details on start dates.

DeCari Pizza To Go, 33 N. Lake St., has a couple of picnic tables on their property that they will be utilizing for outdoor dining

For a complete list of outdoor dining options in downtown Aurora. Click HERE.

Newly Opened + Coming Soon

Tredwell Coffee reopened in May, and is serving coffee, pastries, and sandwiches from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Charlie’s Creamery also reopened with limited hours, and is serving ice cream and selling pints curbside.

Also in May, Branch Gardens and Warehouse 55 both opened selling plants.

Wyckwood House and Cotton Seed Creative Exchange will both reopen in June on a limited basis. Both stores currently offer online shopping with curbside pickup and delivery options.

McCarty Mills Taproom (pictured) opened at 140 S. River St. Unit 108 in the ground floor of River Street Plaza condos. The location sells pizza, pretzels, and chips and queso along with cans of craft beer and bottles of wine. They are looking into outdoor seating options in front of the building.

QT3 Body Systems, 2 W. Downer Pl., is expanding in the rear along Stolp Avenue, and adding a protein and juice bar this July. QT3 Body Systems is the first in a series of small business profiles that celebrates “every Saturday is Small Business Saturday” on Aurora Downtown’s Facebook page.

Just announced is the addition of Foreign Exchange Brewing opening at 110 Cross St. next to Endiro Coffee’s newly finished coffee warehouse.

Paramount School of the Arts will celebrate its first anniversary by reopening for private lessons and small classes on June 1.

Also celebrating one year is The Venue, who will be hosting a virtual Roots and Blues event on June 12 and 13.

For more information and a complete guide of downtown outdoor dining, visit