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Pasadena Pushes Back on State Dining Ban to Allow Outdoor Seating at Restaurants

Plus, a GoFundMe for Silver Lake’s the Kitchen, El Tepeyac’s lawsuit, and Hawkins House of Burgers during the pandemic

Pasadena during the Coronavirus Pandemic Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

The City of Pasadena is currently allowing restaurants to keep their outdoor seating areas, despite the larger state-level ban on public gatherings and on-site restaurant dining. The move is similar to one made weeks ago by the city of Manhattan Beach, where diners could order takeout meals and eat them in front of the restaurant, though without waitstaff or other table service. Manhattan Beach was told by the LA County Department of Public Health to stop the practice, and has since begun removing those public dining areas.

Pasadena, however, has its own public health department, though the rules there don’t override the state-level mandate to cease all on-site dining, with or without serving staff. Back in November, Pasadena also chose not to immediately close staffed outdoor dining alongside the LA County DPH, though they did cease table service a week later when the state’s modified public health order took effect.

A Pasadena spokesperson this week stated that restaurants can keep their dining area furniture out, as long as waitstaff do not provide service in that space, according to Pasadena Now, though many restaurants in the standalone city are leaving the areas unused and sticking with takeout and delivery. No seating is allowed from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m., and standard safety protocols like masks and physical distancing still apply.

In other news:

  • Silver Lake restaurant the Kitchen has been serving meals for over 20 years, but like other restaurants is struggling to stay afloat now that outdoor seating is no longer allowed. Recently the owners launched a $75,000 GoFundMe to help keep the business and staff afloat.
  • The owner of El Tepeyac La Mirada is suing a former employee for $1 million plus damages for allegedly posting negative reviews about the restaurant on Yelp. Ron Beilke accused Jairo Castillo of defamation after posting comments on Yelp by stating “This place is horrible. Food is horrible. Management is nuts,’’ according to NBC-4.
  • Westside burger pop-up Heavy Handed is switching locations, landing a new spot at the Brig in Venice starting this weekend.