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Dining Al Fresco
March 2009 | Crystal Crawford, Mayor of Del Mar

Proposed Sidewalk Cafe extending out 2 feet beyond
existing sidewalk

Last summer, the City Council took another step toward revitalizing downtown Del Mar. The council adopted an ordinance designed to simplify the application process for sidewalk cafés in the village. The ordinance defines sidewalk cafés as uses of the public right of way adjacent to a restaurant for additional seating and includes provisions to protect public health and safety, address environmental concerns, and preserve the city’s visual character.

Recently, the city council approved applications for three sidewalk cafés along the south side of 15th Street. The seating on the 15th Street side of Americana Restaurant will be reconfigured and streetscape improvements added. Seating will be added at Jimmy O’s and at Del Mar Pizza and the streetscape improvements continued to the west. The council anticipates an application from Sbicca’s Restaurant in the near future.

In addition to outdoor seating, the approvals include the installation of new street trees, public benches, and enhanced pavement to replace the existing mix of sidewalk materials. The approved designs will provide seating that meets all accessibility standards. The restaurant operators will pay an annual sidewalk café user fee, which the city will apply toward other streetscape improvements to the downtown area. All seating must be available for the use of the general public regardless of whether they are patrons of the restaurant.

Alcohol service is allowed if the establishment has a liquor license. Smoking in the outdoor cafes is not permitted, nor is live or amplified music, food preparation or open fires. Operators must maintain the areas including periodic steam cleaning of the sidewalk. Tables, chairs, lighting, umbrellas, and heaters are allowed but must first be approved by the city.

Outdoor cafes are recognized as generating more pedestrian activity and bringing vitality to commercial areas. The new improvements along the south side of 15th Street should be in place by this summer and will provide a handsome new look to match the improvements now in place on the north side of this lovely corridor.
Bon appétit!


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