The Vintner’s Tavern, a boutique winery and restaurant in Chino, has had to adjust its business model since sit-down service was closed on March 16 because of the coronavirus.
Reopened for dining service since June 9, a new outdoor patio area has been created in the parking spaces just outside the restaurant.
With the addition of the patio, there are at least 10 tables and four to six bar chairs that can be used to maintain social distancing, said owner Rowena Argonza.
Carryout service began March 20 and is still available. Food is also available through Uber Eats and Grubhub.
The restaurant offers a wine club and its members and the general community looked forward every week to their carry out meals
For fun, the chef created carryout themes such as New Orleans Week, American Barbecue Week and even a Quarantine Party Pack that included cheeses, marinated olives and almonds.
“It was our customers’ excitement for the week and ours as well,” said Ms. Argonza.
The idea for outdoor seating was sparked when she noticed a family eating their carryout dinner in the parking area.
After checking with the County of San Bernardino and the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), she started the conversation with Brian Sitton at the City of Chino Planning Department.
The city of Chino approved a resolution at its June 16 city council meeting to suspend regulations prohibiting outdoor dining.
The resolution permits outdoor dining between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. with noise restrictions. Permission from the property owner is required.
Ms. Argonza said the city permit was free but ABC required an application fee.
Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce President Zeb Welborn said, “Restaurants have faced some extremely difficult challenges over the past three months and will continue to face those challenges for the foreseeable future. The decision by the Chino city council to allow for the temporary use of outdoor spaces for restaurants to expand their sit-down service is a wise one. This decision will allow our restaurants to practice social distancing measures and help them keep their doors open.”
The owner said before the pandemic, there had been live music and reserved seating on the weekends.
After the closure, it took weeks to rebuild inventories after several vendors had closed or limited their deliveries, she said.
She said she hopes through the continued support of the community, some of their losses from the shutdown can be regained.
Argonza Cellars winery was established in 2012 and the restaurant was established in 2017. The businesses are family owned.
The Chino Hills City Council on Tuesday approved multiple temporary policy changes to reduce the impacts of the pandemic on businesses and residents.
Some of the changes include creating outdoor dining patio permits that would allow for deviations from the municipal code, waiving the permit fees for special events in commercial centers, and waiving fees for all outdoor dining patio applications.