It’s looking like Little Italy will be the first local neighborhood in San Diego to put a new state-wide initiative into practice that temporarily lets restaurants increase their available footprint by allowing them to expanded their outdoor space, helping to mitigate the loss of indoor seating.
This Al Fresco dining program is part of a reopening campaign, developed by the Little Italy Association of San Diego (LIA), to begin to safely reactivate the area’s 150 retailers and restaurants, 15 hotels and motels, and public spaces.
This Saturday, June 13 will mark the first run of street-side dining, with India Street from W. Ash to W. Grape and W. Beech, W. Cedar, W. Date and W. Fir Street between Kettner and Columbia Streets. closed to all but emergency traffic from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
So far, 15 eateries in Little Italy, from Buon Appetito to Isola Pizza Bar, Solunto, Parakeet Cafe, Cloak & Petal, Solunto, and Landini’s Pizzeria, have signed up to participate and will be transforming the sidewalks and the sections of India Street in front of their restaurants into extensions of their dining rooms. Civico 1845, which has already expanded its open-air seating to an adjacent piazza, will be bringing its bar outside, adding bar high-tops as well as regular tables to the outdoor spaces.
Marco Li Mandri, chief executive administrator of the LIA, tells Eater that he hopes to continue the Al Fresco program in future weeks, expanding it to Friday nights and possibly including other streets in the area.