by Zachary Aedo
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — Despite financial struggles due to the pandemic, a restaurant owner in Colorado Springs is expanding his business.
Mitchell Yellen owns North Side Social, The Pinery, Garden of the Gods Market & Cafe, Garden of the Gods Catering, Till Kitchen and Sprig. Despite opening his new venue, North Side Social, in February this year, his business was forced to close dine-in services for a couple months.
But with restaurants reopening again, he’s decided to start construction plans for the second phase of the new restaurant.
“I went forward because I felt like that’s the right thing to do,” Yellen said. “I can sit around, licking my wounds, feeling sorry for myself and hoping for the best — or believe that things are going to be better in the future.”
Yellen’s latest project involves expanding the patio area of North Side Social to include more dining areas, pickleball courts and live music. He says he expects construction to finish by late June.
City leaders in Colorado Springs say more business owners are adapting to the county guidelines for reopening and trying to maximize profits.
Bob Cope, the city’s economic development manager, says many owners are looking to expand their dining to include outdoor areas.
“That’s seen as a more healthy option under the current COVID situation with the better air circulation and all those things,” Cope said. “And the ability to be able to social distance.”
Yellen already had plans to expand prior to the COVID-19 closures. Despite concern of future outbreaks, he says he’s hopeful reopenings will be done safely.
“I think the thing to do is to lean in and hope for the best,” Yellen said. “Rethink the way you’re doing it now. We just have to be wise about how we do this so we can survive and continue to be home for the community.”