Great Restaurant for Live Music Gets Chomped by County—Then Given Another Chance
January 13, 2012
Sure the Tex-Mex fajitas ($16) are tasty. Or the saucy enchiladas rancheras, another house specialty ($14). Then there's the tequila tasting ($12) that comes with three different cactus juices and a small shrimp cocktail.
But the most flavorful thing Plaza Linda Restaurant and Cantina (659-4229) has going has been its live music. There are a number of great restaurants just within long buffet table's distance—Toast Carmel Valley and Cafe Rustica among them—but none that are even considering what promoter/performer/energy beam Kiki Wow has been putting together of late.
Groups descend from as far off as L.A. The other day jazz pillar Cathy Segal-Garcia performed. The best flute dude we know, Kenny Stahl, shows up there all the time. Martin Shears, who the Weekly profiled this week, plays every first Friday. Spanish gypsies stopped by to sing and dance the other day. Bad-ass finger-picking guitarist Goh Kurosawa even mesmerized the people on the patio.
The place has long been an institution—in fact, it is the very first restaurant I remember going to as a kid—and has hosted music since 1963. But as relentless community observer Squid reported in our opinion pages yesterday, the Monterey County Planning Department asked them to stop, even as local businesses love what the draw does for their bottom line.
"The change comes as the music has moved inside for the winter, and leans singer-songwriter acoustic to begin with," Squid writes. "It comes as artists are lined up for months to come, as music was keeping the keystone Carmel Valley restaurant alive and, best/worst of all, from one complaint that could draw a debilitating fine because PL is 135 feet away from a sliver of residential zoning in a sea of commercial spaces, instead of the required 200."
The ever passionate Wow quickly descended into sleeplessness at the prospect of a string of cancellations, a whopping fine and making-rent headaches. She also started reaching out not just to County Supervisor Dave Potter but her legion email contacts and area music fans.
Good things resulted, as she reports.
"The County said if I can confirm that events took place at 9 Del Fino Place prior to 1953, which is the date that the zoning ordinance went into effect, then [the permit] will be 'grandfathered' and we may proceed with events without a use permit and without paying the violation fee."
If you have any photos, play bills or other evidence of any events that took place at whatever building was there, she needs your help—notify Mike Novo at 755-5192 or our 755-5000 with historical evidence.
In the meantime, she's cleared to have acoustic music. "The show can go on," she writes:
"My hat's off to Supervisor Potter and his assistant, Bryan Flores, and all of the staff for their expediting this so that I can have my income back. It sorta feels like It’s A Wonderful Life and Mr. Potter helped saved the music for the little village of Carmel Valley. God bless America! What a glory story from my last few sleepless nights! What a week I’m having!"