Winter Weather Batters County as Restaurants Prep for Return of Outdoor Dining

State and County announces restaurants can reopen outdoors again.

NBC Universal, Inc.

They missed out on big celebrations and festive holiday meals during the last few weeks. However, restaurant owners across San Diego County rejoiced with the news they could serve customers on-site, albeit outdoors.

“We’re very hopeful,” said Kevin Templeton, a partner at The Smoking Gun and Spill the Beans in the Gaslamp Quarter.

“2020 I think for everybody was a rough year,” Templeton said while standing on the outdoor patio they constructed for outdoor diners. “It’s been a wild ride.”

That wild ride has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. The State of California limited restaurants to carry-out and delivery at the beginning of December. Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom and the County of San Diego announced restaurants could reopen for outdoor dining. The announcement was made on a stormy day for San Diego weather.

“It’s that yo-yo. Some have hope, a glimmer of hope of something going on and then it starts pouring rain,” laughed Templeton, who has competed and won on national TV shows like Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay.

Even without the rain and wind, San Diegans may balk at eating outdoors in colder, winter temperatures.

“It’s frustrating to an extent,” said Jullianna Kadel. “In the past obviously, we’ve been able to have the option to sit inside, get to be able to enjoy the winter feeling from inside.”

“Very frustrating. Very sad,” Templeton said just as a gust of wind blew the barricade of his outdoor patio a few feet.

“It is San Diego,” said a hopeful Templeton. “So, it will be sunny hopefully in about an hour or two.”

Junction Bar and Grill owner Chad Santana said he got a call at 6 a.m. about his outdoor dining tent.

"We actually had it bolted down in the cement, but the wind was just too much," Santana said.

The wind tore the tent from the ground and threw it against his building and two cars, causing around $8,000 worth of damage.

Santana was actually called by Jeff Bristol, owner of Fitness Quest 10, who had his own damage to deal with when he got to work.

"I pulled up to find our canopy in the canyon hanging over the wall," Bristol said.

Gyms, like restaurants, were able to resume outdoor business on Monday. It was unclear how long Bristol's bad luck would set him back.

the weather actually caused damages that will put him out of money at possibly the worst time. The wind actually picked up his outdoor dining tent and tossed it against a building and some cars.

Matt Deloach, owner of Abnormal Cork and Craft, got to work and saw his outdoor dining tent far out of place. When he checked the security footage, he figured out how it got there.

Canopy tents served affordable, and durable enough in good weather, for many restaurants limited to outdoor dining during the pandemic. The latest return of outdoor dining and the brutal winds coming on the same day was an unlucky coincidence.

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