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Downtown Pleasanton Restaurants and Bars Ordered to Tear Down Parklets Immediately

Plus, Michelin-starred Ju-Ni is shutting down for two months and more food news

An open sign outside of Oyo restaurant in Pleasanton. Oyo
Lauren Saria is the editor of Eater SF and has been writing about food, drinks, and restaurants for more than a decade.

Pleasanton officials are demanding downtown restaurants and bars tear down their outdoor dining setups and parklets so the city can clean streets and perform other maintenance, according to reporting from Bay Area News Group. The deadline to remove the structures, which some business owners say they paid between $10,000 and $12,000 to construct, is today, Friday, January 7; businesses that don’t comply could face fines, the Mercury News reports, though the city says it will “work with” the owners first.

The decision is frustrating for restaurant and bar owners who say they can’t afford to rebuild the outdoor dining setups again, as the city suggests they do. The City Council expects to roll out “a ‘pre-approved’ parklet design” in April, but in the meantime wants existing parklets and outdoor dining setups torn down. City staff say the current structures were built to be temporary and didn’t account for things like the placement of manholes and need for proper drainage; removing them and allowing businesses to build them back later this spring would “more easily allow for maintenance and inspection work.” But with the ongoing omicron surge, removing parklets could be disastrous for restaurants, restaurant owner Maurice Dissels told the Mercury News. Dissels’s restaurant Oyo is on Main Street. “Because while we do this sunset, COVID is raging, no one is sitting inside,” Dissels says. “We’re looking at bankruptcy for a lot of these businesses.”

San Francisco restaurants faced similar confusion around the future of their parklets in early December when the city announced an extensive list of new rules and regulations for the structures with no advance notice to many business owners. Restaurant owners received notices that their parklets weren’t up to code — and threats of fines if they didn’t fix them promptly. “It’s the most uncoordinated, messed-up, insulting display of government incompetence,” Supervisor Aaron Peskin told the San Francisco Chronicle of the program’s botched rollout. [Bay Area News Group/San Francisco Chronicle]

Michelin-starred Ju-Ni goes dark for two months

Citing the current surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant, one of the city’s best sushi restaurants is closing for all of January and February. Ju-Ni, which made headlines for its one-of-a-kind outdoor omakase counter last year, will shut down completely and undertake “a much needed remodel of our restaurant,” per a post on Instagram. And there may be something else up the restaurant’s sleeve: “Stay tuned for some exciting news regarding our down time,” the post teases.

Automat dinner is back on

Chef Matt Kirk tried to sneak open his much-anticipated all-day restaurant and bakery Automat in late November, only to roll back hours during the following weeks. But as of this week, dinner is back on. Snag a reservation Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. this month.

Taco Bell chicken wings have arrived in SF

If you’re looking to live mas this weekend: Crispy Chicken Wings with Mexican Queso seasoning and spicy ranch are available for a limited time at some Taco Bell locations — including in San Francisco, one Facebook user spotted. The review? “They were just okay.”