ENCINITAS — In accordance with the City of Encinitas’ “Shared Streets” program, local restaurant GOODONYA has drawn up plans to build a wooden deck for restaurant-goers on Coast Highway 101.
Blueprints for GOODONYA’s extended wooden deck are the first such approved by the city, clearing the way for construction in the coming weeks, with planned additional seating, umbrellas, planters and wooden railings.
Kris Buchanan, owner of GOODONYA and Encinitas resident, is excited for the opportunity to expand the restaurant’s footprint and promote outdoor living on the popular city street.
“If you’re a customer and you’re sitting on the hot black asphalt it’s not a pleasant environment,” Buchanan said. “The whole reason you go out for dinner is to have a great time and great times are few and far between with COVID right now. We want to make our space really nice and comfortable for our customers.”
As vice president of the Encinitas 101 Main Street Association, Buchanan has attended Main Street Now Conferences across the nation, witnessing the creative ways American cities have used historic main street spaces to attract tourists and customers.
One such way, Buchanan said, is permanent street-side dining, encouraging customers to walk and shop throughout the evening, rather than drive to a restaurant and leave immediately after eating.
Another possible solution to help local business recoup losses incurred during the pandemic could be a long-term “Shared Streets” program, with expanded decks and comfortable outdoor dining, Buchanan said.
“Encinitas’ stretch of the 101 is a designated ‘Historic Main Street,'” Buchanan said. “There aren’t too many of those in our country and it’s special. When we think of a historic main street, people’s minds’ imagine a small town with shopping, retail, ice cream shops… a special place that people love, with great energy and a great feeling.
“Unfortunately, our main street has become a highway where people speed from stop sign to stop sign at 40 miles per hour. We could be attracting more customers with a friendlier environment.”
GOODONYA intends to bring a neighbor-friendly environment to Encinitas with its street-side deck, but also to stand as an example of community volunteerism. Buchanan said customers and neighbors have donated money, manpower and materials for the project.
All the wood required for construction is being donated by Dixieline Lumber and Home Centers, Plumb 365 and Halycon Trade Building Co. will be donating contracting and construction work, and a group of over 30 customers has offered their own time and monetary donations.
Furthermore, Buchanan’s hope is that the city will allow restaurants and business to maintain their expanded spaces after the County’s Health Order expires.
“As independent restaurants close down, chain restaurants will come in and Encinitas is going to lose its character and color,” Buchanan said. “Solutions like this will be vital to our survival.”
The City of Encinitas is supportive of GOODONYA’s construction plans, confirming the restaurant submitted a plan to the city’s permitting engineer within the current scope of the “Shared Streets” program.
Mayor Catherine Blakespear voiced support for GOODONYA, stating, “I’m excited to see so much creativity from local business owners like GOODONYA. We are doing everything we can to help local businesses survive, essentially getting out of the way and letting the business decide what makes sense for them, given the state and county health orders.”
GOODONYA will continue to operate during the construction, offering both takeout and dine-in services to customers at its location on Highway 101.
“If we could continue on this path and make [Encinitas’] downtown what it should be, it will be more walkable, it will be more bike-friendly,” Buchanan said. “When you go out to dinner, and your town is lit up beautifully, you can walk, you don’t rush home, you don’t get in your car… you stroll down the street and you purchase things… you support business further.”