Pedlets opening for sidewalk dining May 1, new locations in the works

Pedlets are on their way back to downtown Great Falls.

Might Mo’s is back up on Central Avenue though sidewalk dining won’t open until May 1.

The pedlet debuted in Great Falls last year and it was so successful at Mighty Mo it spurred a 20 percent increase in business and the brewery and additional employees.

Pedlet has arrived in downtown Great Falls

Now several other eateries are interested and the Business Improvement District received an $8,000 grant from the Montana Main Street Program to formalize the city’s pedlet program.

The BID kicked in another $15,000; Great Falls Montana Tourism added $5,000 and the Downtown Development Partnership added $2,000 for a total of $30,000 in available grant money to help businesses who want to add pedlets cover the initial costs, according to Joan Redeen of the BID.

The BID will operate the pedlet grant program and cover 50 percent of the construction costs, up to $5,000, Redeen said.

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The pedlets take up parking spaces so the businesses have to purchase those spots for the months the pedlet will be in use. The businesses also need a sidewalk cafe permit from the city, approval from the BID, approval from the city, plus approval from the Montana Department of Transportation if their pedlet is on a state-owned road and the Montana Department of Revenue if they plan to serve alcohol in the sidewalk dining area, Redeen said.

Enbar’s pedlet went up on Friday, but it hasn’t yet received the required approvals from MDT and won’t be allowed to serve until May 1 when the pedlet season under the grant program officially opens.

Redeen said she’s spoken with 10 interested businesses about adding pedlets this year and some of those are moving forward. More information will be available on those pedlets as they firm up plans, Redeen said.

West Allis, Wisconsin was the first city in the U.S. to create pedlets and Great Falls is the second official city to implement the program, though Billings also has a version of a pedlet.