DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) - The Flower Hill Promenade in Del Mar is helping restaurants in its parking spaces by creating extra outdoor dining space.
Milton's, a restaurant and deli in the shopping center, opened up a new outdoor area by covering up parking spaces with turf and tents and setting tables and chairs. That area opened up this week after new health orders forced restaurants to close their indoor dining areas due to rising coronavirus case numbers.
Owner Barry Robbins says that they are also working on building a lounge area with a big-screen TV. With fans not allowed at the Del Mar horse track this season due to the pandemic, Robbins is hopeful their proximity to the race track will attract horse racing fans.
"We want to create a lounge, and put up a tv, and show the races there," he said. "Then you'll have more a night time venue with music, which we've never done before."
Rose Javin, the General Manager at Flower Hill Shopping Center, says the outdoor dining spaces are an investment in their clients. Another restaurant in the Flower Hill Promenade, Cucina Enoteca, also recently rolled out turf and put up tents to create a comfortable outdoor setting for their customers. They are currently working with a third client to see if they can help them.
"The shopping center has put up the money to do all this and create this area for the tenant," Javin said. "We're a family here, and we want our tenants to thrive and survive."
Robbins says they were hard-hit by the pandemic. When restaurants were allowed to reopen, Robbins says they invested thousands of dollars in putting up glass dividers inside the restaurant. Still, they were only open for two weeks before they had to shut their indoor area again.
Robbins says having the outdoor space is a relief.
"It means sleeping at night. I was so scared," he said. "I think we really have a chance, and it could be better than ever."