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Local Restaurants Scramble To Follow COVID Regulations
el Mez
In Riverbank, many restaurants and dining establishments have been able to adapt to the new requirements in the state for outside dining in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Here, El Mezquite, a brand new bar and grill on Patterson Road, had just started up, planning its Grand Opening celebration when the order came from California officials. They adapted, first by offering only delivery or take-out food, then were able to expand to the covered sidewalk in front of their shop. Ric McGinnis/The News

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.

The Perko’s restaurant on Patterson Road is one among many local eateries that was able to adapt to the requirement to serve diners outdoors in Riverbank, and the rest of the state. Some mom and pop shops as well as the bigger chain food chains have been able to adapt, while others have been forced by the COVID requirements, to close, some temporarily, some likely permanently. Ric McGinnis/The News