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LA City Council Takes a Huge Step in Making Outdoor Dining Program Permanent

Plus, a block party in City of Bell, arrests made in Beverly Hills restaurant robbery, and Spoon & Pork closes temporarily

Dining at Casa Vega’s covered outdoor area in the San Fernando Valley.
Casa Vega
Casa Vega
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.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council took a step towards making the city’s outdoor dining program permanent. The votes were nearly unanimous to extend the mayor’s 2020 initiative that expanded outdoor dining for LA restaurants onto adjacent sidewalks, streets, and parking lots.

LA mayor Eric Garcetti introduced LA Al Fresco almost one year ago, which coincided with the reopening of in-house dining in LA with a streamlined approval process. The move towards expanding outdoor spaces was a welcome one after restaurants were forced to utilize takeout and delivery-only during the initial COVID-19 shelter-in-place.

NBC-4 reports the nearly unanimous vote will request the Bureau of Engineering to make recommendations on the transition. The city attorney will also determine the feasibility of revising the Department of Transportation’s program that would allow restaurants to have the exclusive use of the public right-of-way.

Garcetti’s budget includes includes $2 million in grants for low-income neighborhood restaurants to create permanent areas for outdoor dining as part of the program. His budget is up for approval on June 1.

In other news:

  • When asked by KTTV if wearing masks in public would still be required in mid-June, Gov. Gavin Newsom responded, “no.” Newsom cited a drop in infections and increased vaccinations as the reason.
  • The City of Bell’s Border X Brewing is hosting a Southeast LA block party this Saturday from noon until 6 p.m. Streets will be closed to traffic on Gage and Pine. Expect food trucks, art exhibits, and a beer garden with vendors like Carnitas el Momo, Vchos Pupusería, and Horchatería Río. Entrance is free.
  • Remember that brazen robbery and shooting at Celestino Drago’s Beverly Hills restaurant Il Pastaio in March? US attorneys announced the arrest of three suspects, reports KTLA. The alleged robbers targeted a customer wearing a $500,000 Richard Mille watch. Shots rang out during the incident, and injured a bystander in the leg.
  • Disneyland announced that more restaurants will reopen this month, including New Orleans Square restaurant, Napa Rose, and critter-cute Storyteller’s Cafe. Get the full list on the Disney Parks blog.
  • Roving bagel truck the Yeastie Boys added a fourth one to its fleet.
  • After closing in March 2020, longstanding jazz club and restaurant Pip’s On La Brea reopened this week. Owner Derrick Pipkin also brought back live music from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m.
  • Silver Lake’s Filipino spot Spoon & Pork has closed temporarily to make some upgrades. They’ll reopen sometime in June.
  • The Walking Spanish food tour announced a tasting tour for May 23. A $50 ticket gets a preselected menu item from each of the seven pop-ups. Go hungry and order dishes like the Hangaburs smash burger, or a pork belly chile verde burrito from Two Sons. Head to the Walking Spanish Instagram for details.
  • Los Angeles Begins Process to Make Outdoor Dining Program Permanent [NBC-4]