June 12 marked the first day since the March 16 shelter-in-place order that restaurants in San Francisco were allowed to serve sit-down meals — as long as diners remained outdoors and followed appropriate social distancing protocols. Many of these spots hadn’t ever served patrons outside before, but were able to set up tables on the sidewalks (and, in some cases, parking spaces) outside their restaurants through the city’s new Shared Spaces program.
Given the short notice — Mayor London Breed’s announcement that the city would open for outdoor dining on Tuesday morning — there are many, many restaurants, even those equipped with expansive patios, that weren't ready to offer outdoor service over the weekend. Still, an Eater SF photographer’s tour of the city’s Mission and North Beach neighborhoods on Sunday found that plenty of restaurants were already taking advantage of the newly loosened regulations — public health concerns notwithstanding — and, in some cases, are finding creative ways to adapt their spaces to abide by social distancing guidelines.
In the Mission, many diners were seated at sidewalk tables set up in front of casual restaurants like Panchita’s #2, a popular pupusa spot, and Tacolicious, the fast-casual taqueria.
Meanwhile, Zeitgeist, the wildly popular Mission beer garden, had made some of the more extensive changes to its layout, from the list of rules posted outside on everything from table capacity, the protocol for lining up and getting seated, and time limits...
...to signs delineating the flow of traffic through the patio...
...to the “booths” that the restaurant has set up at its picnic tables, separating groups of diners with a wall of glass.
North Beach, on the other hand, not only saw its sidewalks fill up with diners, but, in many cases, restaurant seating spread out into the streets themselves, as many spots took advantage of the city’s new Shared Spaces initiative.