By Velena Jones

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The R Street Corridor is redefining the outdoor dining experience, trading cars for cuisine. One block of R Street has been blocked off to traffic to allow restaurants more room to breathe.

“Everybody is keeping their distance and it’s perfect,” said dinner Mark Christiansen

Those who are looking to eat out said they are happy with the changes.

“Before you had to squeeze by the tables even though they were all still outside. The extra space helps and…will bring a bigger crowd because people feel more comfortable,” said Brittany Tapparo.

Cafe Bernardo immediately started to see the impacts just hours after the changes.

“We are already busier than we have been in the past. We are super excited about the silver lining in the midst of all of this,” said Jen lewis, Assistant General Manager.

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The expansion into the street is adding 12 tables with around six seats each for the restaurant.

“Initially we would only have five tables out here. We just wouldn’t even come close to having the same occupancy without the additional help,” Lewis explained.

In Elk Grove, Brick House is turning their parking lot into an outdoor restaurant, complete with a bar, firepit, and games.

The Downtown Sacramento Partnership is constantly looking at new ways to help businesses adapt.

“Everything is on the table. We are looking at all the opportunities to really create and expand chances for customers to come down and support these businesses. We are looking at everyday expansion and things like where there are greater numbers of diners expected,” said Emilie Cameron, Communications Director Downtown Sacramento Partnership.

Cameron said there are currently no plans to close other streets down similar to R Street but they are looking into their options.

“It could be things like temporarily shutting down streets to expand dining patios. It could be things like adding additional bistro seating to our large sidewalks. The sky is the limit when it comes to creativity,” she said.

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Mulvaney’s B & L is also expanding their restaurant onto the sidewalk on 19th street.

“There is no way we would be able to make it with just our patio,” said Patrick Mulvaney.

As uncertainty for what’s to come continues, Mulvaney is working to adapt to the changes.

“I feel like a magician every other week you are looking into the hat to see what kind of rabbit you can pull out,” he explained.

According to the R Street Corridor, the block will be closed until September 30th. They are continuing to explore more ways to keep businesses open.

Velena Jones

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