SHUT DOWN, REDUX… They say there is no greater time for creativity than hard times. With a second shutdown order from Gov. Gavin Newsom disallowing dining in at restaurants, it presents a unique opportunity – outdoor dining. For some restaurants, this option has always been available and will likely thrive. Others will have to depend on the willingness of their city government. Will cities stick to the strict laws of the past or move forward to facilitate new dining experiences? The success remains to be seen.
NEW PATIO, WHO DIS?… Speaking of outdoor dining, Salinas City BBQ made a smart move in putting benches, lights and parasols on the side of their tiny restaurant as a way to offer an outdoor dining option. The patio will remain open and will serve beer and wine as well. Perfect for the summer weather with the patio lights giving an oh-so-slightly romantic feel.
CATCH OF THE DAY… A good old feeling of the old normal can be had at Phil’s Fish Market, where the outdoor patio-on-the-beach will remain open for dining. Even if health officials close all the beaches again, Phil’s provides a little beachfront sanctuary in Moss Landing. Local fishermen are deemed essential and have been working throughout the pandemic, and fresh seafood remains available for purchase. Orders to go and curbside pickup are also available.
RAISE A GLASS… While we are sad that we won’t be able to see their racer-themed decor, we are happy to know that the patio will remain open and the menu the same. Few things beat the combo of a Garland Ranch hike followed by a Bloody Mary and a burger at Baja Cantina in Carmel Valley, beyond the coastal fog.
CITY SIDE… It’s inspiring to see there are many restaurants pivoting, as they say in Silicon Valley, to provide better takeout and outdoor dining experiences. How cities react may play a huge role in who will survive. Pacific Grove took a brave leap forward – then walked it straight back – by closing down two blocks, but hampering commerce at other businesses. In Salinas, which never before allowed outdoor dining, tables are now set out in front of popular spots like First Awakenings. Always looking for a reason to celebrate, Seaside has turned outdoor dining on Broadway into an occasional street party (with social distancing, of course). And Monterey is now offering free encroachment permits for restaurants to set tables out, using their tried-and-true parklet model.