The temporary outdoor dining structures in Saratoga Village are sticking around for another year..

The city of Saratoga and Caltrans agreed last month to keep the dining parklets along Big Basin Road standing through December.

“That’s the great news; we have them there for at least the end of 2022,” said Chuck Page, president of the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce. “It brings energy to the village when people see people out there eating and having a good time. I think it brought a lot of new business to the Village once they went up.”

The temporary structures have been in place since August 2020 after local restaurants were forced to close their indoor dining rooms at the start of the pandemic. City council purchased $95,000 worth of k-rail barriers and ADA ramps in 2020 to create the outdoor set up in front of the restaurants.

Since Big Basin Road is part of Highway 9, the city had to get an encroachment permit from Caltrans to set up the parklets. The permit was originally set to expire in late 2021, but Caltrans extended the permit to December 2022.

“I think it’s been a great boom for the businesses, certainly the restaurants having a place to be able to serve outdoors when there were lockdowns. .… You’re basically answering the needs and desires of the public,” Page said. ”Businesses want to do that, for business’ sake. But people are the lifeblood of an area like the Village. If there’s a lot of energy, there’s a lot of people.”

Big Basin Burger Bar manager Toni Gonzalez said the outdoor dining structures have given both him and customers peace of mind during the pandemic.

“For how unpredictable things are, I think it’s a good backup option to have. We have a patio, but the patio only has four tables, so the most you can sit out there is 12. But with the additional [outdoor] seating, we’re able to seat 30 more people,” Gonzalez said.

Hong’s Gourmet manager Victor Hong said the outdoor parklets have been popular for diners.

“The outdoor [parklet] is great,” Hong said. “Customers got used to it, and it would be sad if they took it out.”

While Los Gatos recently made moves to keep parklets downtown for the next decade. Page said it’s harder for Saratoga to make the outdoor dining on Big Basin Way permanent because of its location along Highway 9.

“It’s not like Los Gatos and Campbell and other cities that own their own main drag and can do whatever they want. The city of Saratoga needs to get permission” from Caltrans, Page said.

Page said the Chamber of Commerce and the city are taking a “wait and see” approach to extending the parklets permit again.

“The intent is if it’s still an environment where people are nervous or business owners are afraid of change, or our county is putting in some mandates that are ludicrous, then maybe we’ll try to leave them up again for another period of time,” Page said. “But we’ll tackle them later on at the end of the year. We’re not planning for it or against it right now.”

Gonzalez said Big Basin Burger Bar felt the support from community members and other businesses through the turbulent past year and a half.

“Here in Saratoga, it’s a pretty tight-knit community, especially the business owners; everybody supports one another,” Gonzalez said. “During the pandemic, we definitely stayed local to support one another, to remain afloat.”

Hong said loyal customers and community support helped his 20-year-old restaurant stay open through the pandemic.

(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here