By Toi Creel
COVID-19 hasn’t just had an impact on the health of Santa Monica residents, it also has impacted the way people live, interact with one another…and eat.
In an attempt to meet new public safety requirements for food safety and public health guidelines, several restaurants have also been forced to close, however, others have been able to pivot and reinvent themselves.
Three local restaurants, all part of the same hospitality group, were converted into al fresco dining options: the Courtyard at 1 Pico, Coast Beach Café and Bar and Terrazza Beachside Patio.
Coast Beach Café and Terrazza expanded into beachfront restaurants, while the Courtyard turned its valet circle into a courtyard.
“If COVID has taught us anything it is to re-invent ourselves,” said Franck Savoy, the Corporate Director of Food & Beverage at Shutters on the Beach and Hotel Casa Del Mar. “We were not allowed to serve inside our restaurants. Then the questions arose: What do we do? What do our guests expect? We had to think fast, very fast. And so we did.”
The restaurants immediately applied for permits that allowed both the Coast and Terrazza to offer beachfront dining, an up close and personal experience with Santa Monica’s blue waters, eateries that have been coined by customers as a “neighborhood gem”
“Unlike many restaurants whose space is usually blocked off from a street or sidewalk, Coast and Terrazza have a wide-open view of the ocean,” Savoy said. “You almost have your feet in the sand.”
And alongside the new physical changes are also the changes behind the scenes. In order to comply with new health and safety guidelines, the staff completely revamped the necessary protocols and established a new sanitization and safety plan.
“All staff has gone through extensive training about the new way of serving, bussing, cleaning and most importantly sanitizing. We take our responsibility for the prescribed COVID-19 safety measures very seriously. We want our guests and employees to feel comfortable, they are the reason we are here” Savoy said.
Aside from a few physical changes, the restaurant says they are still catering towards the seasonal trends. Endless Summer Happy Hour with 50% off beverages at Coast and Terrazza takes place Monday to Thursday from 4 to 6. The menus also change out with various dishes, including some ingredients from local farmers markets.
The restaurant says they understand the new cautious way in which families must approach health and safety but they hope to ease some worries.
What can diners expect at these restaurants?
At the Courtyard at 1 Pico, diners can enjoy the Al Fresco garden courtyard open for dinner only. Chef David Almany has a menu with both farm and sea to table options highlighting his California meets the Mediterranean selections. For those wanting a beverage,
the champagne and Kir Royale cart can be as perfect a pair alongside the extensive cocktail and wine list.
At the Coast Beach Café and Bar, restaurant-goers can enjoy outdoor seating on the patio and expanded seating on the Beach Promenade. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and brunch on the weekends and they also have half off happy hours Mon to Thurs from 4 to 6 p.m. in addition to Endless Summer wine specials Friday to Sunday.
At the Terrazza Beachside Patio, diners can check out the Italian Renaissance architecture with half-off happy hours and authentic Spanish tapas by Chef Gemma Gray. They also have Endless Summer rosés by the bottle half off all day Friday through Sunday.
The local culinary scene may be different these days, but with the creativity and innovation of these restaurants, local Santa Monicans and more can still enjoy dining out.