By Sharon Ito

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – After scores of Sacramento restaurants moved seating outdoors in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new surge of infections is making their investment continue to pay off.

Binchoyaki chef/owner Craig Takehara has joined more than 120 other Sacramento restaurant owners in moving seating outdoors

Facing the uncertainty of indoor dining restrictions, the chef/owner of Binchoyaki in Sacramento’s old Japantown recently received permission from the city to move his seating out on the sidewalk and into the street, which he did just a few weeks before Sacramento County reimposed indoor mask requirements.

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“Instead of us having to deal with being at 25 percent capacity or 50 percent capacity, I decided to take all the capacity that the restaurant could hold and put it outside,” Craig Takehara explained.

Binchoyaki Japanese barbecue in Sacramento’s old Japantown

In the process, the city lost only two parking spaces on 10th St.

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Binchoyaki has joined more than 120 other Sacramento restaurants in the temporary program called “Farm to Fork Al Fresco”, offering them expedited permits to encroach on the public right-of-way. Earlier this summer the city council extended the program until the end of next June– with city staff exploring options to make the program permanent.

Takehara is hoping to keep his expanded outdoor seating even after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

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“It’s fantastic,” he said. “I love serving outdoors.”

Faced with uncertainty of allowable indoor capacity, Binchoyaki moved its tables onto the sidewalk and street