Restaurants and other food establishments in Riverbank, both big and small, have been scrambling to adhere to the statewide requirement to serve diners outdoors, with varying results.
Some, like Perko’s on Patterson Road, have room on the sidewalk next to their parking lots. In Perko’s case, use of pop-up tents were required to shade diners from the daytime sun.
Others, like the newly opened El Mezquite just across the street, have a covered sidewalk outside their front door that allowed them to keep serving food with the social distancing requirements being met.
And still others have closed, either temporarily or permanently.
The fate of some of the local restaurants remains unknown, like Nifty’s on the corner of Second and Atchison Streets in downtown Riverbank, which closed initially when the first shutdown occurred, and will remain closed now until the COVID issue is resolved, according to a sign posted in the window.
Also downtown, locally owned Pizza Plus has had to adapt to only offering food via take out or delivery. Ironically, its former location, just across the street, featured a fenced in outside dining area, where their new storefront does not, at least for the time being.
Meanwhile, larger chain restaurants like Farmer Boys and Applebee’s in the Crossroad Shopping Center, have plenty of parking lot space at their disposal to set up for the outdoor dining or to handle the take-out traffic.
Another irony, however, is the Panda Express there. At least last week, the restaurant was not using the outdoor patio seating they have had all along.