Tents extend outdoor dining in Kent

KENT, Wash. — Restaurants struggling during the pandemic will be allowed to continue outdoor dining through the fall and winter.

The city of Kent is providing tents to restaurants, with the first tents going up this week at Kent Station.

The tents will be used at Agave Cocina and Cantina, Duke’s Seafood, The Ram, Mama Stortini’s, and Red’s Wine Bar.

“Having this, especially with the bad weather coming up, having this available for the next few months, I think this is going to be a big plus for everyone,” said Julian Ramos, owner of Agave Cocina and Cantina. “This is not easy for anybody, of course this pandemic thing, this is not something we were prepared for in anyway, neither of us, so this has hit the restaurants really hard.”

The tents are being provided by the city. The City of Kent and the Kent Downtown Partnership used $175,000 in federal CARES Act funds to buy the tents for downtown businesses.

“They’re all struggling and anything we can do as a city to support them is really really important,” said Dana Ralph, mayor of Kent. "The tents provide cover from the rain and they’ve got some sides on them, but still allow for air circulation and meet all the requirements the governor has set forward for outdoor dining going into the winter.

At Duke’s Seafood, general manager Greg Green says many customers prefer to sit outside. “I think people feeling comfortable going out will make the biggest difference, and hopefully the canopies will help that, and adding heaters into them next week will be even better,” said Green.

Kent Station happened to apply first. The City of Kent says there are more tents available for other restaurants to provide outdoor dining.

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