Charmant Restaurant begins offering outdoor dining

The restaurant was approved by the Board of Public Works to expand to outside seating last week as part of Outdoor Cafe Program

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Several downtown La Crosse restaurants are moving forward with plans to expand their businesses as a part of the Outdoor Cafe Program.

The Charmant is already giving its customers a new dining experience.

“It’s a gorgeous day,” customer Nancy Flury said.

Flury is a regular customer at the Charmant.

“They’re all about customer service,” Flury said.

Ivonte Page is at the restaurant for a business meeting.

“Just wanted some brunch,” Page said.

Eating inside is always an option, but Flury and Page are choosing to sit outside.

“They have great dining,” Flury said.

“The waiters are really polite,” Page said. “The food smells and looks really good.”

The outdoor dining experience at The Charmant isn’t just new for the customers.

“Decided to launch this by 6:30 yesterday morning,” general manager Michel Gabbud said.

Business is back on the rise.

“We got the majority of guests asking for outside seating, so it is clearly a tremendous demand,” Gabbud said.

Gabbud says the restaurant has six tables spaced apart outside. Four customers are allowed per table.

“So inside the restaurant, we’re down to about 45 seats,” Gabbud said. “So we’re pretty much adding 50 percent capacity, which is great.”

He’s even thinking about offering more outside seating.

“We definitely talking about next year, potentially,” Gabbud said. “This year, probably not.”

But so far, it seems the customers love this new way of dining.

“Again, it’s only day two,” Gabbud said. “But guests have been very happy.”

“It’s really nice that they have the outdoor seating in this time of COVID,” Flury said.

Gabbud also says all staff wear masks, as do customers before they are seated.

Robin Moses, executive director for Downtown Mainstreet, says 12 businesses in total are adding new outside dining options.

Fayze’s, Dublin Square Irish Pub, Piggy’s, Jules Coffee House, Turtle Stack Brewery, and Uptown Cafe were also approved to be in the program by the Board of Public Works Monday.

In addition to The Charmant, the La Crosse Distilling Co., The Crow, and Soula’s Cousina were approved by the board last week.

Others are still applying, and must follow certain regulations, including ADA standards.

The Outdoor Cafe Program ends November 13.