Pizza Chicago di Italia owner Hunam Kal said he is pleased that the temporary outdoor dining structure at his downtown Los Gatos restaurant will soon be replaced with a semi-permanent one.
“A lot of people love to sit outside,” Kal said. “Instead of being so temporary, it looks really unique, and it’s a good idea to make sure everyone has a simple plan … and consistent plans through the Los Gatos area.”
Kal is one of nearly 40 business owners planning to make the transition from temporary to semi-permanent outdoor dining in downtown Los Gatos this year.
In 2021, Los Gatos City Council voted to replace the temporary structures semi-permanent, and allocated $ 680,000 from its U.S. rescue plan funding to create one grant program to help cover part of the cost. The parcels are considered semi-permanent, said Los Gatos Mayor Rob Rennie, “because at some point in the future we will have to redo the infrastructure in the streets, but we think of them a bit as permanent.”
The structures, which are estimated to remain up for the next seven to 10 years, are coming while restaurants are working to recover over the nearly two years of unpredictable eating protocols from the pandemic.
The city received 42 parquet applications by the June 30 deadline, and economic vitality chief Monica Renn said about 36 to 38 of those parcels will be built.
“Some companies have decided not to build, while others are working on the final logistics before moving on, so the final count remains fluid,” Renn said in an email.
The grants will cover 75% of the total construction costs, up to $ 40,000 per. Corporation. Each company was also awarded funds to enter into contracts with a company to create a basic parquet design and subsidize design and engineering fees, Renn said.
“I have to say I’m new to Los Gatos – we just opened our business in September – but they’ve been really very easy to deal with,” said restaurant owner Kal. “Very informative; they make the whole process very simple, quite frankly. ”
Not all cities in the Bay Area voted to retain the pandemic’s outdoor dining structures. Cities like Pleasanton and Palo Alto voted to end their programs to reopen roads to motorists.
San Jose, Sunnyvale and Mountain View voted to keep the al fresco structures in 2021 and are working through similar plans to make them permanent using COVID-19 aids.
Several building permits have already been issued and Renn said construction should begin soon.
“As with all construction projects right now, the timeline is a bit unknown as the pandemic has created a high demand in the construction industry and material procurement may be difficult right now,” Renn said. “The city expects to see the project completed by the end of 2022 and looks forward to the time when businesses and customers have the opportunity to enjoy a collection of outdoor dining experiences in Los Gatos.”
One of the companies that withdrew from its parquet plans was the Loma Brewing Company. Partner and manager Dan Reineke said the city’s potential plans for the newly closed Gray’s Lane, which is located right in front of the business, made it a challenge to make the investment in a permanent structure.
“We’re not on the main street; we’re on a smaller street.” , said Reineke.
“Fourth quarter for restaurants was not as near as good as we expected. “We were not looking forward to spending another $ 30,000 on something that would potentially not bring us that much business anyway,” he added.
The brewery had been trying to establish outdoor dining for the past five years without success until the pandemic hit, Reineke said.
“Outdoor dining is great; we live in one of the best climates in the country, “Reineke said, adding that the city” streamlined the process, which is great … but it should have been easier done years ago when we tried to offer outdoor dining. I’m talking about 2018. “
The city gave restaurants a choice between three different parquet designs and two different finishes.
“Just from the feel and look of the city, it just beautifies everything,” Kal said. “Instead of being so temporary, it looks really unique, and it’s a good idea to make sure everyone has a simple plan.”
Toney Loeffler, head of The Palms, said the al fresco dining structures were a “positive thing” and helped create business at the center.
“Outdoor dining in California is generally what people enjoy the most. I think the outdoor dining and parks, when set up, will promote more outdoor dining, and I feel Los Gatos is rejuvenating,” Loeffler said. “We do a few walks, we do art, food and wine deals. It makes the area look really good, a lot of people out and people having fun. ”