Planners like proposed new Wilders bistro
By Grace Lovins
Wilders bistro, a newly designed restaurant proposed to operate in a mixed-use building on N. Old Woodward Avenue, was given the green light by the Birmingham Planning Board on Wednesday, July 13.
At their previous meeting on Wednesday, June 22, the board advised applicant and Birmingham restaurateur Samy Eid to return to the next meeting with some modifications to its proposed outdoor dining platform. The platform was originally proposed in June as an outdoor dining patio that would occupy sidewalk space, but board members took caution considering the width of the sidewalk in the area and surrounding businesses with outdoor dining sets.
Eid was told to return to the board with measurements of the proposed outdoor dining area, an additional diagram that shows what the outdoor dining area would look like as a platform instead of a patio, and the materials and furnishing that will be used in the dining area.
The new design for Wilders’ outdoor dining platform will extend into the street parking of N. Old Woodward Avenue, occupying one parking space and part of a no-parking area. The redesign of the platform allowed the bistro to up its outdoor seating count to hold 24 seats and eight tables.
While the new design satisfied members of the planning board, other concerns were raised regarding the logistics of losing a parking space in front of the building. Board member Bryan Williams questioned the restaurant’s ability to accommodate deliveries with a parking space occupied by the platform and buildings and businesses located to the north and south of the bistro.
Victor Saroki, the architect working with Eid, responded that Eid is able to control the time of the bistro’s deliveries to arrive in the morning between 7:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Additionally, drivers making the deliveries can be informed to park in certain areas and Eid can instruct the delivery drivers on which side of the platform to park to avoid interference with the surrounding businesses.
In addition to the concerns about parking, it was noted that the proposed signage for the bistro was compliant with current regulations on signage location. Chairperson Scott Clein and dlanning Director Nick Dupuis stated that the issue can be handled administratively before the design is presented to the city commission, which issues final approvals.
Board member Robin Boyle commented on the new proposed design. “I’d like to emphasize again that this proposal gives a lot more space to the sidewalk and if we want to make our place walkable then this is what we should be doing,” he said. “We’ve enacted this idea of building the platforms and I’m delighted that Samy has gone in that direction. … I’m delighted to see this going ahead in this fashion.”
Clein recused himself from the discussion and vote, noting his company’s business relationship with the owner of the property. The vote was unanimous between all other planning board members to forward it on to the city commission.