Sidewalk Cafes

On June 26, 2017, the Borough Council passed Ordinance 2017-12, amending the rules governing borough Sidewalk Cafes. While registration is still required, the Ordinance completely removes the fees associated with applying for a sidewalk cafe. It removes many of the costs associated with developing and submitting plans before opening a sidewalk cafe.

How It Works

For any food establishment to open a sidewalk cafe in the Downtown, the operator of that establishment must register for approval using the B-4 Form (PDF). After receiving notification of receipt of registration, you may legally operate your sidewalk cafe.


While we have streamlined the requirements for opening a sidewalk cafe, there are still considerations to maintain safety and quality of life.

  • You must register your sidewalk cafe.
  • The amount of available outdoor seating shall not exceed the amount of available indoor seating at said establishment. (Bar seating shall not be counted in the calculation of indoor seating.)
  • All underlying rules and regulations (Zoning, Health Code, Uniform Construction Code, Fire Code, etc.) shall be maintained.
  • Only low-level lighting shall be permitted and maximum illumination shall be 1.0 fc at the curb line and to all property lines as extended to the curb line. No lighting shall shine directly in the public roadway and no lighting shall simulate or resemble any traffic control device color or style.
  • Operators of sidewalk cafes shall maintain a minimum liability insurance policy of $500,000 and must name the Borough of South River as an insured.
  • Sidewalk cafes shall not block pedestrian circulation and a minimum of five feet of clearance shall be maintained at all times.
  • When a café ceases operation for a period of five days or longer, all furniture and equipment utilized for outdoor dining shall be removed from the sidewalk and stored inside.