What You Need to Know About LA’s Restaurant Reopening
From capacity restrictions to outdoor seating.
The restaurant world—and just about everything else on the planet—has been in a constant state of flux since mid-March when the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced operators to cease dine-in service. Over the past few weeks, Los Angeles has slowly started to reopen in phases, and that might leave you wondering about when and how you will be able to eat and drink in public this summer. We’ve got you covered. Here’s a brief explainer on the dining status in LA right now. As always, we encourage you to be responsible and still recommend takeout and delivery for maximum safety.
Are restaurants open yet in LA?Yes. Gavin Newsom recently announced that dine-in service can resume with the following stipulations: Workplace policies and practices must protect employee health with mandatory symptom checks prior to each shift, and free face masks as well as face shields must be provided for wait staff serving customers who are not wearing a cloth face while eating and drinking. Measures to ensure physical distancing must be in place such as spacing outdoor tables six feet away from one another and limiting indoor in-person dining to 60% of prior maximum capacity.
To reduce the risk of transmission, restaurants must make sure their HVAC system is in good working order with efficient ventilation. Additionally, there must be hourly disinfection of high-touch objects like doorknobs and credit card readers as well as designated sanitation stations. And restaurants must prominently display signage outlining their safety protocol and reminding their customers to remain at least six feet away from each other.
What about masks?Diners must wear masks when they are not eating or drinking and all employees must wear them, too.
What about outdoor dining?Yes, as long as outdoor tables are spaced six feet apart. And the City of Los Angeles just launched a new program dubbed LA Al Fresco to streamline approval for restaurants to expand outdoor dining to sidewalks and parking lots. They hope to expand the initiatives to parking spaces and entire streets at some point in the near future.
What does the next stage of reopening look like for restaurants in LA?According to the county, occupancy will be limited to 60% for the next couple of weeks, but with COVID-19 cases on the rise, that seems unlikely to change soon. Expect to see more restaurants expand their outdoor seating into parklets (street parking spaces) and streets this summer.
Here are some places that are currently open for in-restaurant dining:
Status: Currently open for brunch on the back patio. Parties of four to eight people can book one of four generously spaced tables under its blooming jasmine for different seatings at 12 pm, 1:30 pm and 3pm Wednesday through Sunday. Chefs Keith Corbin and Daniel Patterson’s beloved Southern spot is offering some of the most popular dinner staples for daytime service including pimento dip, black-eyed pea fritters and its famous fried chicken. To book a reservation, a $120 deposit charge is required, which goes toward the $120 minimum per table. Call 323-571-4999 to reserve.
Status: The patio of this hip Silver Lake Filipino spot is open for business. Guests can order chef Charles Olalia’s popular lumpia, sisig burritos and pina coladas at the bar, take a seat at one of the well-spaced tables outside and wait for their meal to be dropped off by a server.
Status: The formerly packed rooftop at this hip West Hollywood place has reopened with seated service at 60% capacity. Tables are located six feet apart and plexiglass barriers have been installed at the bars and throughout the lobby. Walk-ins and limited reservations are accepted until 2 a.m. daily. Chefs Sabel Braganza and Monty Koludrovic introduced a new menu of Southeast Asian-style small plates for under $15 including three pepper squid, fried crab curry bun and a fried chicken sandwich. There’s also a happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.
Status: Guisados has reopened all of its locations—aside from K-Town—including its new Pasadena store that boasts a cool pergola-covered patio out front. If you’ve been missing filling up on tacos, this place has got you covered with homemade corn tortillas and flavorful fillings like chorizo, mole poblano and cochinita pibil. Tables are spaced at least six feet apart both inside and out.
Status: This groundbreaking vegan fine-dining spot, helmed by queer executive chef Scot Jones, is serving its famous artichoke oysters and homemade pastas again. To be safe, partitions have been installed between booths, hand sanitizers are placed on each table, everyone gets temperature checks and QR code menus have replaced the old paper menus. Plus, they recently added a dog-friendly patio for outdoor dining. Reservations are suggested.
Playa Del Rey
Status: Top Chef winner Brooke Williamson’s beach-adjacent restaurant has expanded its al fresco dining options for safe social distancing. In addition to its existing patios, they’ve added tables to the parking lot. So, you can eat your lobster roll and drink your whiskey in the ocean breeze with plenty of space.
Status: Suzanne Tracht’s modern chophouse reopened its doors on Friday night with expanded sidewalk seating. Wash down retro dishes like pot roast and Kansas City steak with well-made martinis available Tuesday through Sunday.
Nerano / BG
Status: This upscale Italian celebrity haunt and its new, upstairs dinner club have fully reopened with a limited menu of entrees, pizzas and pastas—including BG’s spaghetti with Wagyu meatballs. To keep diners at a safe distance, the team created a new al fresco dining room in the back parking lot.
Status: This pricey Malibu haunt has reopened its iconic deck for folks who want a view with their yellowtail jalapeño and lychee and elderflower martinis. It has implemented a number of health and safety protocols that go well beyond the health department standards including contactless menus on mobile, a reconfigured layout and a team that disinfects guest and service areas every 30 minutes.
All Day Baby
Status: The recently debuted follow up to Here’s Looking at You, All Day Baby quickly developed a solid fan base for its creative riffs on breakfast and lunch classics. Its patio is now open for cocktail service and pie up until 8 p.m. Guests can order online or right at the bar and snatch a table out front. Though pastries, drinks and chips and salsa are offered into the evening, if you want something heartier like a fried chicken sandwich or buckwheat waffle, you’ve got to order before the kitchen closes at 3 p.m.
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