Little Italy parklet, piazza get restaurant capacity up to 85 percent

Posted at 5:16 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 20:49:44-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The twists and turns of the coronavirus pandemic have been especially hard on Little Italy's Civico 1845 restaurant.

"We're counting pennies every day," owner Dario Gallo says.

Gallo couldn't get a stimulus Paycheck Protection Program loan and now, it's illegal for him to have guests eat indoors.

"There's been the moment, earlier in the previous month where things were changing day after day with new regulations," Gallo says.

Like all restaurants in the county, Gallo had to figure out how to survive.

To do that, he's making full use of the space outside his India Street restaurant, both in the piazza to the side of the building and on the street in what's called a Parklet. He's back up to 85% capacity.

"We are of course fighting, day after day after day," Gallo said.

The city says it's doing all it can to make it easy for restaurants and businesses to move outside, even waving fees for a lot of temporary parklet permits and turning them fast. Still, there are more applications coming. The city said Thursday nearly 250 businesses have the green light to move outside, with another 33 permits in the queue.

Marco Polo Cortes, a hospitality consultant who helps businesses apply, including Civico 1845, says he's never been busier.

"This is their lifeblood. They are either out on the parklet, on the sidewalk, or not open for business," Cortes says.

Cortes says building parklets can cost a few hundred to a couple thousand, but he also says restaurants can earn $5,000 to $15,000 in revenue from them in a single day.

The city says many permits are free of charge, however, more complicated proposals may require fees.