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Restaurants considering making outside seating due to COVID-19 permanent after the pandemic

Posted at 12:32 AM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 03:32:33-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — What once was just an ordinary alley has now turned into a quaint dining spot for customers of KC Steakhouse. On Monday, 23ABC spoke with a few restaurants in the community, they share that they have seen a great response from customers with outside dining. And are looking to make them permanent.

"I love the patio and if I ever have to choose from dining inside or patio, I'm always going to want to choose a patio. I love it," said customer Geo Alvaradoh.

Many residents are finding themselves enjoying meals outside, while indoor dining is still not permitted in Kern County. Now, many businesses are relying on outside dining, which has now become the norm during the pandemic. Especially amongst restaurants that did not have patio dining have found creative and unique ways for customers to dine.

One of those places is KC Steakhouse,

It has turned an alley into a full dining experience.

"What makes this so different than other outside dining is the fact this was a community effort. From the canopy which was donated by a customer to the trees on the outside. Each little piece has a little life from our customers," said Cassie Bittle, KC Steakhouse general manager.

The restaurant says the new addition of what they call the stockyard area has given them a chance to remain open.

Seating about 60% of customers as they typically would seat inside.

Now, the canopies and horse stall railings have been such a hit they're looking to make it a permanent addition.

"Well city council is allowing us to do this because of the pandemic, but I think us restaurateurs will have to get together and approach city council about allowing us to do these permanent structures because our community loves it," said Bittle. "Our community is enjoying it and the sunshine, and creativity has been a lot of fun. I do see this being in our future."

Down off of Oak Street, Agave Restaurant has already made some permanent changes. Knocking down walls to extend their patio, even placing a plexiglass structure around the area.

Last month several downtown restaurants created seating in Wall Street Alley, equipped with a DJ and occasional live music.
And with all of the success, owners don't see themselves moving forward without it.

"There has been a lot of change in this alley and it looks a lot cleaner, we have fewer interactions with the homeless getting there and more lively than its ever been. Jerry's Pizza is thriving, and we even have more job opportunities now," said Fausto Jimenez, Jerry's Pizza general manager.