By Gretchen Williams, Dining and Cuisine Writer
Three months of safer-at-home lockdowns has made us appreciate the simple things in our lives. Restaurant dining was a daily part of our lives, until it wasn’t. Returning to active social lives, including restaurants, will take time.
Becoming comfortable in restaurants again will take the ongoing efforts of restaurateurs to assure the public of safety while dining, along with making the ambiance attractive and inviting.
Servers will wear masks and protective shields, most tableware will be disposable and social distancing considerations will cut the number of seats by 40%. Plexiglass partitions may become the norm.
Reservations may be required even for breakfast. The bar scene has yet to be defined in Los Angeles County, with the needs of social distancing hindering the efforts of the bars, breweries and wineries to reopen as before.
The coming changes to restaurants and bars will require fine tuning, with adjustments being made by both restaurateurs and patrons. Everyone entering will be required to wear masks, and go along with the regulations imposed by the county in order to dine in.
Dreams of the end seat at the bar with a cold one or a cozy spot out under the stars with a nice bottle of wine are finally coming true. The lavender blasts of jacaranda blossoms all over town herald the coming of summer, and the opening of restaurants and bars, with some restrictions.
Los Angeles County is easing the lockdown on hospitality and restaurants, though our dining and drinking experiences may look and feel different. Fresh air is the key to success in adhering to the new safety criteria.
Outdoor and sidewalk dining will be encouraged in all neighborhoods. Downtown San Pedro is getting the sidewalk café scene it has always wanted and needed, blessed by a Mediterranean climate and splendid kitchens on every block.
New parts of the restaurant community hail from Sicily (La Siciliana on 6th Street) Oaxaca (Conrad’s Mexican Grill on 6th Street) and France (Compagnon Wine Bistro on 7th Street), joining an international lineup of San Pedro favorites, like Buono’s Pizzeria in Little Italy or Baramee Thai on 6th Street. New opportunities to try international cuisines are a marvelous side effect of the COVID-19 safer-at-home guidelines.