San Francisco restaurant sets up outdoor dining domes for COVID era eating out

National News

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — There’s now a new spin on outdoor dining in San Francisco that started this week.

Outdoor dining domes are now in the city’s SoMa neighborhood.

Sushi Hashiri says they set them up on Wednesday in hopes of making diners feel safer.

You’ve probably seen this concept floating around other countries over the last few months.

The manager said he was inspired by Japan and thought why not try it in the Bay Area since he hasn’t seen it here yet. He said, nowadays, you have to think out of the box to stay afloat.

In San Francisco’s Mint Plaza, Sushi Hashiri is serving up a whole new dining experience. But this time, we’re not talking about the food.

Three tall, translucent domes appeared on Wednesday at the restaurant’s patio for outdoor dining.

“We guide them to their tables,” KManager Kenichiro Matsuura said. “It’s not set at any point until they arrive. it’s very minimal contact.”   

Matsuura said he wanted to bring a new concept to the city while also giving guests peace of mind when dining during the pandemic.

While not all are keen on the idea of these dining domes, many are at least intrigued.

“Yeah you’re away from everybody, which is nice, and it’s warm,” Matsuura said. “I think that’s the biggest thing for dining outside in San Francisco is it’s relatively chilly right now.”

The Michelin star restaurant went through dramatic changes at the start of the pandemic, transitioning from a nine- and 12-course meal to take out.

Like many others in the business, the restaurant took major financial hits.

“Dramatic drop. It’s really scary to even say or share the numbers,” Matsuura said. “But a good 70- to 80-percent drop that we’re seeing from our daily operations. So it’s been a major struggle for us but we have to do what we have to do.”

With the new domes, Matsuura says they’re able to bring back a bit of normalcy to their menu. They’re now offering five-course meals and allowing up to four guests in each dome.

Each dining dome is equipped with windows for a breeze, and they’re cleaned for at least 45 minutes in between the 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. reservations.

While it’s only been a couple of days, Sushi Hashiri says it’s been a successful concept so far and they’re getting a lot of looks. They’re looking to get more of these outdoor dining domes soon.

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