February 28, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

LA City Council To Vote on Recommendation Which Could Eliminate Al Fresco Space

Vote To Take Place in 24 Hours, Small Restaurant Urges Action From Food Fans

By Dolores Quintana

A last-minute development concerning changes to the Al Fresco Zoning Code regulations in the city of Los Angeles may pose severe challenges to smaller restaurants and lead to closure in an extreme scenario. The restaurant Open Face Food Shop in West Adams sent out a distress call earlier this evening. In a social media post on Instagram, they asked concerned residents and food fans to write to all of the Los Angeles City Council members and ask that they reconsider recommendation two in the upcoming changes that the city council will vote on in 24 hours. 

The Instagram post read, “Some of the new changes they have slipped in at the last minute could cripple us or, heaven forbid, force us to close. It’s serious. The new regulations would force us and all restaurants to maintain one parking stall on the premises. This may not sound like a lot to ask since parking in LA is a problem for everyone, and for larger restaurants, it’s not an issue.”

A new post also includes further instructions on how to email the city council and a suggested letter. It also links to the original recommendation on the city council’s website.

The restaurant’s owners added, “Accommodating a parking stall may be a minor inconvenience for larger restaurants, given their size and capacity. However, for us and other similarly sized establishments, compliance with this regulation would likely result in the forfeiture of most, if not all, of our cherished outdoor dining space—an amenity that has become integral to our patrons and has played a crucial role in our resilience during the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic.”

Open Face Food Shop also stated, “For us and all of the small restaurants like us, however, it would mean the loss of most, if not all, of our outdoor dining, which you have all come to know and appreciate. Those extra seats have allowed us to survive the worst of what Covid had to throw at us… It would be a shame, to say the least, if we were finally killed by a single parking space.”

Finally, they conclude, “We urge stakeholders, community members, and patrons who have come to appreciate our outdoor dining experience to recognize the potential repercussions of such regulations. Our commitment to providing a welcoming and thriving community space remains unwavering, and we hope for a reconsideration that considers the unique circumstances smaller restaurants face.”

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