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

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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.”