Why some LA eateries are opening smaller restaurants in their parking lots

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Some LA restaurants are expanding their outdoor footprint by opening a second eatery in their parking lots. Lien Ta opened a new space called Helluva Time in a parking lot across the street from her restaurant All Day Baby. Photo courtesy of Lien Ta

Even before COVID-19, restaurants operated on razor-thin margins. Now, LA restaurants have struggled even more to stay open due to state and local restrictions preventing people from gathering inside.

Restaurants have endured by expanding their outdoor footprint introducing parklets, or outdoor seating in parking spaces. But other eateries who doubled down on the survival-by-outdoor-dining plan are doing something else: opening a second restaurant, with an entirely different menu, in the parking lot.  

“These restaurants are amplifying a little bit of the alfresco program by Mayor Garcetti,” Eater LA reporter Mona Holmes says. “You can even visualize it as [a] pop-up.”