Main Street restaurants expand into street amid pandemic

Dinners sit behind K-rails as they eat in the street outside Smokehouse on Main, as on Main Street in Newhall is close to increase outside seating for restaurants on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Santa Clarita Valley residents had the opportunity to visit a shut down Main Street in Newhall this past weekend as restaurants expanded their outdoor dining footprints into the street. 

“I’m joyful to see people able to be outdoors with friends and family,” Santa Clarita Councilwoman Laurene Weste said, “and even if they’re 100 feet apart, they can wave, say ‘Hello,’ eat something good, and know that they’re helping our local economy and that they’re doing something fun, which is really important for all of our mental health. I’m very proud of Santa Clarita.” 

Newhall Press Room co-owner Charles Potter says that things have been going pretty well so far. 

“People like it for sure, and the city has been super helpful,” Potter said, adding that with the hot weather, he’s thankful the restaurant’s location allows much of the patio to be in the shade by the afternoon.

Newhall Press Room manager Laura Raden waits on customers as Main Street is close to increase outside seating for restaurants in Newhall on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

“It’s definitely helped — and we’re appreciative of the business that we have — but with COVID still happening, in general the community isn’t going out like they were before, so we’re doing what we can to try to make people feel as comfortable as possible to come out,” he added.

That being said, the restaurant plans to continue offering takeout and delivery, along with wine by the glass to go. 

“That’s still a huge part of our business, and we’ll continue to do that as much as possible for our customers,” Potter said.

For Newhall couple Carl and Sam Phillips, visiting Main Street this past weekend was their first outing in months. 

“It felt really good to get out there and feel some semblance of normal,” Carl Phillips said, chuckling. “The restaurants did a great job of making their setups look professional, even down to the fake grass.” 

Customers sit behind K-rails as Main Street is closed to increase outside seating for restaurants in Newhall on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Though only their first outing, the Phillips were impressed with the care each restaurant took in following public health guidelines through the heat. 

“We could see the effort they had taken in making everyone feel safe, and it was certainly much appreciated,” Phillips added. “We loved it and will definitely be returning.”

While the closure allows restaurants on Main Street between Market and 6th streets to extend their dining services into the street on weekends, each participating restaurant is also set up with water-filled K-rails, allowing them to provide outdoor dining in parking spaces all week long.

Other participating restaurants include The Old Town Junction and Smokehouse on Main, with additional restaurants currently in the process of completing plans for similar outdoor seating setups, according to city officials.

The Main Street closure is set to begin at approximately 3 p.m. Friday and go until 11 p.m. Sunday, with this schedule intended to continue each weekend through August.

Main Street is closed to increase outside seating for restaurants in Newhall on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Newhall Press Room manager Laura Raden waits on customers as Main Street is close to increase outside seating for restaurants in Newhall on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Dinners sit behind K-rails as Main Street is closed to increase outside seating for restaurants in Newhall on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Newhall Press Room server Tamara Kopp brings menus to dinners behind K-rails as Main Street in Newhall is close to increase outside seating for restaurants on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Customers sit behind K-rails as Main Street is closed to increase outside seating for restaurants in Newhall on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

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