With the shopping center closed, and no way for restaurants to serve customers in the food court, the upscale Glendale Galleria mall near Los Angeles came up with a solution....
Parking lot dining.
General Manager of the Glendale Galleria, Steven Sayers:
"I mean, I never thought I'd be putting seating in a parking garage, that's for sure. You know, we do have some work to make a little bit better, I'm sure but the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.”
After collecting their packaged food order from a designated pick up area outside of the mall, diners can take it to tables set up in the parking lot, which is still open to vehicles, or a separate outdoor patio area to eat.
Norma and Robert Talamantes had been craving their favorite Middle Eastern cuisine from Massis Kabob and after hearing about the parking lot dining area on the radio, they drove from their home in the San Fernando Valley to satisfy their craving and support the local business.
(NORMA TALAMANTES) “It's LA. It's surrounded by cars every day, everywhere. So I mean, it's no big deal. It's not going to be forever."
Others were a little less excited about the idea:
(MALL VISITOR, ROSA VIGIL) "It feels weird, because it feels like, oh we're eating in the parking lot and it doesn't feel like a restaurant, you know."
While not ideal, Sayers said the parking lot dining area provides a little bit of normality for the mall's regular visitors:
"We're all human beings and sometimes we're creatures of habit. And there are certainly people that their regular routine is to come to the mall at a certain time with friends, enjoy the meal. And that's what this space is for. It's for those people that enjoy coming here and still want to keep some semblance of their normal life going,"