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Proposed State Bill Hopes to Keep Al Fresco Dining a Vital Part of California’s Restaurant Scene

Plus, where to find salted egg in LA, a cheese tasting class, and more

A restaurant in Venice with a sidewalk al fresco dining setup with hanging lights.
Streetside al fresco dining in fall 2020 at Tasting Kitchen in Venice.
Tasting Kitchen
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.

Starting in 2020, LA city officials made it easy for restaurants to build outdoor dining structures during the pandemic. Outdoor options exploded and changed SoCal’s dining landscape. But in early February 2023, that same department caused an uproar after proposing an ordinance that could make many parklet dining areas go away. This week, a state legislator from Woodland Hills proposed a statewide bill to keep these dining structures in place.

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel introduced Assembly Bill 1217 this week. If passed, AB 1217 will maintain some flexibility surrounding regulations related to outdoor patio dining. Former Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti introduced LA Al Fresco in May 2020, which allowed restaurants to convert public spaces like sidewalks and parking lots into outdoor dining areas with expedited approval. That move was designed to keep dining establishments afloat as indoor dining was prohibited due to COVID-19 restrictions.

AB 1217 appears to take direct aim at LA’s new proposed ordinance, which would force small businesses to reapply for a new outdoor dining permit that could lead to more red tape and enforce conditional use permits that previously didn’t apply. The proposed state bill — and its predecessor AB 61 — also removes the red tape surrounding outdoor food preparation and service, and extends existing orders that allow alcohol service in outdoor premises.

Simi Valley’s first wine-tasting room makes it official

Simi Valley’s first wine-tasting room Nectar of the Dogs Wine hosts an opening party this weekend. Head over to 791 Chambers Lane, Suite 100 in Simi Valley for live music and wine samples anytime between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday. It’s also a dog-friendly event where proceeds benefits street dog non-profit Soi Dog USA.

Alpine Village in jeopardy

Businesses at Torrance’s 54-year-old Alpine Village allegedly received notices to vacate at the end of March. Via Instagram, the Los Angeles Conservancy noted that the historic site was sold to an LLC.

Salted egg goodness in LA

Jean Trinh produced a guide to locate the sweet and wonderfully savory salted egg for the Los Angeles Times throughout the region.

Cheese-tasting class at Agnes

Cheese lovers, Old Town Pasadena’s Agnes Restaurant & Cheesery brought back its cheese 101 class on Tuesday, March 21, and April 4. Agnes co-owner Vanessa Tilaka Kalb is leading the hands-on workshop which includes tastings, bubbly alcoholic beverages, and building cheese boards in the private dining room. Sessions are two hours and only 12 can attend. Book a spot on Resy.