With the upcoming Fulton Corridor meetings in mind, I caught up with some changes to the downtown restaurant scene.
- the launch of Cosmopolitan’s Saturday night dinners
- the reopening of Carlton’s Bar & Grill
- and a little bit more about Press Box Sports Grill’s potential spot in Civic Center Square.
Yes. Seriously. Every time I’ve reported on downtown restaurants, the parking issue comes up.
For example, lack of parking bedeviled the old Cheker’s Melting Pot on the Tuolumne side of the Warnors Theatre. Former owner Ken Patterson told The Bee in 2007 that customers “drive by and if they can’t find [street] parking, they will drive by a second time. But that’s it.”
Another of Cheker’s owners, Raffy Chekerdemian, remembers those parking issues today. “As much as people wanted to support and be loyal,” he says, “I can understand why people wouldn’t want to go through the hassle and get some lunch.”
“I personally liked the whole downtown experience,” Chekerdemian adds. “If I were at Kern and N streets, where people can actually walk, I think I would still be downtown.”
It’s telling that Civic Center Square comes up repeatedly in my conversations. Instead of just more parking lots, it seems we need better integration of offices, retail and parking in an attractive outdoor setting. Civic Center Square supplies all of this, giving restaurants two streams of customers:
- those who are close enough to walk to a restaurant, grab lunch and get back to the office in 30 minutes
- those who can drive and park in, say, the lot behind the Galleria.
What do you think? Do you want more parking throughout downtown? More campuses like Civic Center Square? Or something else?