VIDEO: How will restaurants adapt to the future of dining post-COVID?

With politicians hinting that a slow reopening of restaurant spaces and other businesses could happen in the coming months, restaurateurs have voiced their concerns that having limited capacity will hinder their progress even further, some saying it could put them out of business.

Groups of all stripes have been been trying to help these restaurants reimagine the layout of their future, including architectural firms such as Studio One Eleven. Led by principal Alan Pullman, the outfit decided to create a testing ground in front of Romeo Chocolates and The Pie Bar in Downtown Long Beach. Closing off a small section of road and reorganizing an existing parklet, the firm showed the relative ease and efficiency a public space can be reordered to expand restaurant seating.

The best part? They can gather data and present it in order to prepare for opening—because we are not ready to do so.

“We’re not really ready to open up quite yet, but this is like rapidly prototyping the idea of what could occur and seeing what might work,” Pullman said. “We could draw this in our studio and we could figure out what fits here and there—but we wouldn’t know what it felt like or what the issues of accessibility are. This is an in-life experiment.”

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.