Businesses Complain About Dîner en Blanc; Organizers Respond

Philadelphia business owners were not happy with what they say was a lack of notice for the closure of Broad Street last week.


Photo | HughE Dillon

This year’s Philadelphia edition of Dîner en Blanc was held last Thursday on South Broad Street. This caused consternation among business owners.

In addition to the fact that it shut down a stretch of South Broad after 7 p.m. on Thursday evening, Dîner en Blanc’s location, as per tradition, was kept secret until just before the event. The manager of Ruth’s Chris Steak House told NBC 10 the restaurant found out at 6:15 p.m. “We scrambled around to figure out valet parking,” Burnie Gaeta said, “to notify guests that there is going to be a backlog.” The city says officials reached out to local businesses 90 days in advance.

Councilman Jim Kenney, never missing a beat, sent a letter to city managing director Rich Negrin detailing the complaints of business owners. He also tweeted!

The previous two DEB events were held at Logan Circle and on the JFK Boulevard Bridge.

Dîner en Blanc's organizers have responded to the complaints, telling the Philadelphia Business Journal about the group's preparations for the event.

[Co-local organizer Kayli] Moran said they reached out to local businesses on the Avenue of the Arts at least a week in advance, focusing on mailed letters in order to include a map of the street closures. Emails and phone calls were also sent and made to businesses that did not have an office mailing address, such as parking garages. [...]

“The third garage [Walnut and Locust streets] was easy to work with, and they planned to notify their daily customers that they would have to leave before 7 p.m.,” Moran said. “We offered to pay for the garage so it could still receive revenue that evening while it was closed.” Moran said the Dîner en Blanc crew, such as sound and lighting members, parked in the garage to ensure they still had business that night.

Moran said the congestion nearby was due to a variety of factors, including a protest about the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and a viewing party for the Taney Little League baseball game.

[PBJ | NBC 10]

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  • Anon

    You mean the protest that only had about 20 people?

  • MetalDog

    I don’t think that the Ferguson demonstration or the Taney viewing party were in the middle of major streets. And when demonstrations *are* on public streets, they don’t usually go on for 4+ hours and include furniture.

  • Anon

    “all of those beards and white get-ups made it look like the set of a wes anderson movie about the klan or something.” thought that was a funny look at it

  • Jackeeeeee

    What a bunch of whiney spoil sports.

  • Snow Queen

    I think the whole secret location thing is completely absurd and impractical in such a densely populated area. I was trying to take my sick dog to the vet and got trapped for over an hour in the complete clusterf–k that they created around City Hall. I kept trying to escape it, but everywhere I turned, I would encounter either a closed road or a traffic standstill. As I’m sitting there with my vomiting dog, I look over and see all these smug morons in white standing on the sidewalk with their baskets of cheese and wine, and I swelled with rage.