Comings & Goings: Dine al fresco? Yes, but not at Bistro 33
YOLO COUNTY NEWS

In 2017, the state forced the city of Davis to sell Historic City Hall because it had been redeveloped to house the Bistro 33 restaurant and City Hall Tavern. Enterprise file photo

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Comings & Goings: Dine al fresco? Yes, but not at Bistro 33

Bistro 33 – the restaurant with the best patio dining space in downtown Davis — will not reopen.

The property owner, Engstrom Properties, confirmed the news on Friday. The landmark site was once 凯发体育官方sporthome to City Hall and, later, the Davis Police Department. Engstrom purchased the property from the city of Davis in December 2017. It’s at 226 F St., and includes the adjoining City Hall Tavern.

Often referred to in Davis simply as “Bistro,” it closed in mid-March due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Mark Engstrom released the following statement Friday evening. “Bistro 33’s lease is set to expire in August. We would like to thank Bistro 33 for their service to the community for the last 15 years.

“Bistro 33 has become a local gem, and when it’s safe to do so, we will be working with their leasing agents to market the property and find an operator who can retain the charm and sense of community that Bistro 33 brought to the Davis Downtown.”

A message on the Bistro 33 website, updated April 23, says “Unfortunately we remain temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. We thank you for your patience and hope you all remain safe and healthy. We will continue to post weekly updates on our social media & website, and hope to welcome you back soon!”

News of the closure has been rumored, but unconfirmed until now. Restaurant owners and brothers Matt and Fred Haines have not returned repeated inquiries in the last few weeks. Their company, SRO (for Standing Room Only) also owns other Sacramento area restaurants, including Wildwood Kitchen & Bar and Suzie Burger.

Its 33rd Street Bistro in Sacramento closed March 8 after the new landlord, Dowling Properties of Davis, opted for another tenant because the Haines brothers couldn’t make timely lease payments. Matt Haines told The Sacramento Bee in March that they wanted to open another 33rd Street Bistro in East Sacramento by Nov. 14, which would be the restaurant’s 25th anniversary. The restaurant was SRO’s flagship. The Davis restaurant opened in 2003.

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City and Davis Downtown officials are exploring closure of Second Street between E and F streets and/or G Street from Davis Beer Shoppe/G Street WunderBar north, stopping before Third Street. Aaron Wedra/DDBA map

But there is more outdoor dining on its way. As soon as June 25, downtown patrons may enjoy more outdoor space to safely eat, drink and shop.

It’s all part of the downtown’s “Open Air Davis” plan. Diane Parro, the city’s director of community and business engagement, said it’s a no-fee temporary permit for use of public space downtown, to accommodate more physical distancing of restaurant and retail customers.

So far, the city has approved three restaurants: Seasons Kitchen and Bar, Tres Hermanas and Froggy’s/Tommy J’s. No word on when they will begin using it.

“A few other restaurants and retailers have been in touch with us and I expect will apply for a permit soon,” Parro said Thursday.

The Davis Downtown Business Association “has championed an open space which can be shared by businesses to increase the number of customers that can be served,” she said. 

“We are working on the logistics right now but hope to have one or more of these spaces open as early as June 25.” In most cases, permits can be approved the same day they are submitted.

City and DDBA officials are exploring use of Second Street between E and F streets and/or G Street from Davis Beer Shoppe and G Street WunderBar north, stopping before Third Street. 

She said this would be “during the weekend, potentially starting on Thursday or Friday and extending through Sunday evening, (where) these area(s) would be closed to vehicular travel and open to use by businesses that are a part of the DDBA and have a valid city of Davis business license.”

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I continue to update and add details to my Google spreadsheet of businesses affected by COVID-19, at https://bit.ly/DavisBusinesses. In it, there are sheets for Restaurants-open, Restaurants-closed, Businesses-retail, Businesses-service, Special hours (for seniors or compromised shoppers), and Gifting Stimulus Program beneficiaries. The spreadsheet is not editable. Please email [email protected] to suggest changes.

The following restaurants remain closed due to COVID-19: Bistro 33, BurgerIM, City Hall Tavern, Crepeville, Delta of Venus, D Street Steakhouse, G Street WunderBar (with Smokin’ Ewe BBQ), La Piñata Mexican Grill, Sam’s Mediterranean Cuisine, Nami Sishi and Uncle Vito’s. This doesn’t count Mr. Pickles, but adds a couple I previously overlooked.

(As Lauren Keene and I reported on the front page of Friday’s Enterprise, Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop was closed permanently by its corporate office after the Davis franchise owner sent an anti-Black Lives Matter email to his employees.)

Some recent openings include Village Pizza & Pints, 236 B St., which was set to return Friday. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Seasons Kitchen and Bar, 102 F St., was open for reservations starting Friday. The Davis Beer Shoppe, which stayed open for retail, started allowing inside seating, and, as of Friday, without food restrictions. Ramen Hook inside University Mall is open for takeout, noon to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Baskin Robbins ice cream is open, with outside seating in E Street Plaza, Sundays through Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays till 9. And Armadillo Music’s Bootleg bar was set to reopen Friday inside the music store at 207 F St.

Crepeville, 330 Third St., plans a comeback in late July. Owner Derar Zawaydeh, whose group also owns Burgers & Brew and the soon-to-return El Toro Bravo, said he’d like to open Crepeville sooner. However, he’s having difficulty finding part-time staff, because, he said, some people are making more money on unemployment.

“We really are looking forward to reopening again. (Crepeville) is my favorite restaurant,” he said. “We’ve been there for 20 years. I love the people who come there.”

He said it feels harder to restart a restaurant under these conditions that to open a new one. In the last three months, equipment has broken down and things need to be checked to make sure they are still running.

El Toro Bravo, 237 D St., which closed in February before the lockdown began, will return in a couple of months, after Crepeville opens. The restaurant needs some remodeling first, he said.

Burgers & Brew, 403 Third St., stayed open for takeout during shelter in place, and recently brought back dine-in. He’s hoping to take advantage of the public space permits for the burger restaurant and Crepeville, possibly using part of Central Park on days the Davis Farmers Market is closed.

Meanwhile, he says it’s “really challenging to maintain the social distancing. It’s hard to manage it and it’s hard to practice it. … People come in together. I don’t know, they are friends or family, who knows? It’s really ambiguous.”

Zawaydeh added some customers try to push tables together, which defies the rules. “If we notice anything, we say something. Really, it’s just playing policeman and it’s hard. We’re trying to accommodate people. I don’t want to get into arguments. But we do the best that we possibly can to follow (the guidelines).”

For the most part, “People have been awesome in Davis and cooperating with everything they are told.”

Other businesses opening back up (and not mentioned in previous columns) include The Artery (June 12), Logos Books (June 13), Estetica Salon, Shu Shu’s Clothing and Accessories, Creative Hair, and Salon Blonde (June 15).

FIT House will add some in-person classes as soon as June 19, and Akasha Yoga started outdoor classes at the Hilton Garden Inn pool patio on Friday.

Yolo County Library started allowing book drops on June 8. Hours are weekdays from 9 to 6. This does not include kits or book bundles. “We’re preparing to offer curbside pickup services. Stay tuned for details,” an email said. Meanwhile, the library renewed all previous checkouts through July 18. (I’ve had my book club’s a Read Around Yolo bag of 10 books since February.)

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The Joint Chiropractic is coming soon to The Marketplace, at 1411 W. Covell Blvd., Suite 103. The brand is a nationwide network of more than 500 independently franchised chiropractic offices.

— Wendy Weitzel is a Davis writer and editor. Her column runs on Sundays. Check for frequent updates on her Comings & Goings Facebook and Instagram pages. If you know of a business coming or going in the area, contact her at [email protected]

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Wendy Weitzel
Wendy Weitzel is a longtime journalist and Davis resident. She is a former managing editor of The Davis Enterprise, working there from 1998-2008. She has written her Comings & Goings business column since 2001. Today, she does freelance writing, editing and public relations.

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