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Palm Desert discusses expanding outdoor dining on El Paseo

El Paseo

The pandemic has caused challenges for the already hurting restaurant industry. Now, the city of Palm Desert is set to discuss plans for partial closure on El Paseo to expand outdoor dining. 

“There's a lot of pros and cons, but I think it's great to stimulate some activity to create some kind of vibe, you know, it's the last six months have been pretty dismal for everybody," said Joe Morano, co-partner of Kitchen 86 + Bar.

Joe Morano, Co-owner of Kitchen 86 + Bar is all for the city to close down El Paseo and expand outdoor dining onto the street. 

Morano said he’s been closed since March but this plan could help his business. 

“I think just to initiate that they'll help retail as well as all the restaurants," said Morano. "So I think it's a great idea."

At Cafe Des Beaux-Arts the owner there said he’s unsure about the plans. 

“We are lucky enough to have a pretty size patio so right now we don’t need extra seats but if the situation lasts and when the weather becomes nice like in October then yes that definitely would help," said Didier Bloch, owner of Cafe Des Beaux-Arts.

The city of Palm Desert considering other options to help restaurants on El Paseo expand their outdoor dining. 

“The more broad discussion that's going on do we want to do something from a policy perspective do the council members want to shut down travel lanes? Do they want to look at  closing blocks of El Paseo or even the entirety of El Paseo," said Ryan Stendell, Director of Community development for the city of Palm Desert.  

Another topic on the table, closing off Lupine Lane and making it into a food court plaza.

“Close Lupine from El Paseo, a couple of hundred yards to the north, to the entrance to that property where a Blaze is and then within there we'd put in some tables and umbrellas and furnishings that make it look like a public plaza," said Stendell.

We asked if these discussions would also benefit retailers?

“That's why you've not seen staff propose anything, because we're just not sure a lot of the retailers that we talk to and even some of the restaurants express that closing the street down may not be the best option,"said Stendell.  

“Let's be positive. let's try it,"said Morano.

It's all part of the city's plan to help small business owners and employees.

"We took about $2 million out of our economic reserve fund and gave forgiveable loans to our businesses and we put $1 million into a hospitality program where if you stay for two nights, you get the third night free. So we want visitors to stay and stay longer and shop on El Paseo and eat all over our wonderful desert from north to south and support businesses and donate money to our food banks," Palm Desert Mayor Gina Nestande told News Channel 3's Peter Daut.

Palm Springs
 and La Quinta have already passed plans to help restaurants by expanding outdoor dining areas.

For more information on what city council will discuss. CLICK HERE.

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Dani Romero


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