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A taste of spring for outdoor diners

The warm weather is bringing outdoor diners back to the table, but some places never stopped serving customers outside, even during the winter.

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — Rose Fazio, the owner of Abbiocco, always wanted to put a big tent outside her restaurant in South Abington Township. The pandemic hastened those plans along.

"It was a big investment, but I felt worth it because we're only 50 percent inside, so the extra tables we gained out there during the winter was like a normal full house," Fazio said.

The new outdoor setup near Clarks Summit turned out to have a bit of a silver lining. Now Fazio says she plans to keep the tent up for most of the year, even once the days of COVID capacity limits are gone.

"I think it's great, and I would prefer to eat outside anyway!" Tony Digiacomo said.

It's a similar story at Alfredo's Pizza in south Scranton. There's always been an outdoor patio during the warmer months, but it's not typically used during the winter.

This year though, Manager Matthew Martini invested in heaters and curtains and kept the patio open all year long.

"We spent the money, and we're willing to spend more if people want to come out."

This week, plenty of people are eating outside and enjoying the first taste of spring.

"We got spring fever going around, as you can see, we got people outside today. Unfortunately, next week, we see it's a little cold, but we're fully stocked up with heaters, and we're ready to bring people in here if they're ready to sit," Martini said.

Other restaurant owners in Lackawanna County tell us they do plan to bring their tents back but are waiting until the spring weather is here to stay.

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