Los Angeles cafe has filled its parking lot with individual greenhouse dining pods to help diners feel safe during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Lady Byrd Cafe in the city’s trendy Echo Park neighbourhood closed its doors at the start of the pandemic in March.
The investment has paid off as the governor has once again banned indoor dining in much of the state, having allowed restricted openings in late May, after coronavirus cases broke records and hospitalisations rose 50% in two weeks.
When outdoor dining was allowed to resume, owner Misty Mansouri was ready, having transformed the restaurant’s blacktop parking lot into a garden filled with flowers, herbs and plants with private glass cabins.
Mansouri said the pods, which have windows to allow air flow, are cleaned and sanitised after each use and comply with guidelines issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The CDC guidelines are really you just have to be six feet apart, right? I just went the extra step to make sure that people feel extra comfortable,” she said. “Many of the people who have dined here, this has been their first experience and they feel super-safe.”
Mansouri was inspired by images of similar dining spaces in Europe. Dutch restaurant ETEN introduced glass dining huts on its waterside patio in May.
Thessa Villegas, 34, who convinced her reluctant friend Rebecca High to go out for lunch by showing her the greenhouses on the cafe’s website, called the experience the “holy grail of dining.”