Outdoor dining in North Park gets unanimous support from planning committee

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego’s North Park neighborhood is considering a plan for outdoor dining that would help local restaurants recover during the pandemic.

The plan got unanimous support from the North Park Planning Committee during its virtual meeting Tuesday evening, as well as enthusiasm from local restaurant owners.

“We all love our small businesses and if we want them to continue to exist when this is all over, we have to find a way to be creative,” said Garrett Bernard, owner of Crazee Burger.

Bernard is behind the idea and says outdoor seating would help increase the amount of customers he’s able to serve, pointing out that even once in person dining is allowed inside restaurants places will have to cut their capacity in half.

“Opening up outside would be definitely a great opportunity,” said Flavio Piromallo, owner of Si Amo Napoli.

Piromallo is originally from Italy, so he says the concept of outdoor dining is nothing new for him.

The proposed partial closure of 30th Street would mean no vehicle traffic from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, on a two-block stretch between University Avenue and Polk.

The North Park Main Street Association presented the two-week pilot plan and said every restaurant in the targeted area had no objections. However, if approved, it will be the individual restaurant owner’s decision if they want to participate.

There were a handful of local residents who called in to the virtual meeting, and most were in favor of the plan. Many who spoke up during the meeting had questions and only a few people expressed concerns like parking or bus routes being impacted.

From here, the plan still needs to move on to the City of San Diego for approval, but other cities and neighborhoods in the region like Encinitas are already discussing similar plans.

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