San Diego restaurants get creative with outdoor dining under new restrictions

Coasterra Float
Posted at 9:27 PM, Jul 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-12 02:13:02-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Saturday marked the first weekend San Diego County restaurants were under indoor dining restrictions and they've gotten creative to stay afloat during the pandemic.

Monday the Governor announced San Diego County joined the state's watch list due to the spike in coronavirus cases.

The county announced bars, restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, museums, and cardrooms will need to shutter indoor operations Monday night at midnight.

Saturday on Harbor Island, Coasterra debuted a "pop up" dining experience on their 'float' that normally hosts events.

Executive Chef and Partner in the Cohn Restaurant Group, Deborah Scott thought their event space on the water (dubbed The Float) was a perfect place for extra seating. Their sister restaurant Island Prime had to close it's doors, due to the new restrictions.

So the Island Prime, moved to an island.

On the 'float' they can seat up to 68 people, that's 68 plates that Island Prime can now sell at a time. Scott said they were booked Saturday, their first official night, but are not filling it to capacity.

She said they want to make sure things run smoothly.

"My biggest fear is that everyone is going to come out here and have dinner and go, 'Can you just move Island Prime out here?'" She said chuckling.

The same sentiment was shared in Escondido where they kicked off the first weekend of street-side dining.

One lane in both directions down Grand Avenue is shut down between Maple and Juniper Streets to make way for the extra tables, chairs and umbrellas.

A huge opportunity for indoor venues like The Grand Tea Room.

Owner of The Grand Tea Room Lousia Magoo said inside she can seat about 50 people, "so bringing more out here, I could probably seat 30 people at a time so it really means everything to us."

Magoo also sits on the Downtown Business Association Board and said they've dedicated $10,000 in supplies for the restaurants to help with creating their outdoor dining space.

Saturday she said they handed out 50 umbrellas and are expecting more tables and chairs Monday, providing San Diegans a dose of normalcy both on the water and curbside.