OCEANSIDE — To address reduced downtown parking Kirk Harrison, owner of Harney Sushi, opened up a valet parking service to downtown visitors.
The curbside valet service opened on Cleveland Street two weeks ago after two temporary public parking lots on the street closed forever, and construction fences went up.
Harrison said response to the valet service has been positive.
“Customers love it,” Harrison said. “Some people come downtown three to four times a week, to the Sunset Market, to the restaurant and next time to the movies. They say they have started coming downtown more often.”
Valet service is offered during the restaurant’s busy dinner shifts on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Harrison said there are 175 to 275 diners on these nights, looking for nearby parking.
The service is free to Harney Sushi customers who order $10 or more, and $7 for non-patrons. Cars are parked in the restaurant’s private below ground parking lot.
Harrison said charging a minimal fee to non-patrons keeps the valet service free for restaurant guests and allows valet workers to make a little money.
Rick Wright, MainStreet Oceanside executive director, applauds the idea.
“Seven dollars is so reasonable,” Wright said. “It’s a couple dollars more than pay parking.
“It’s neat to see a business owner’s unique solution (to parking).”
Wright said MainStreet provided a tablet of tear-off parking maps to downtown businesses to help visitors navigate around closed lots.
“There’s quite a bit of parking,” Wright said. “Some is tucked into odd places.”
There is still free public parking at the aboveground parking structure a block south of the restaurant, at a permanent lot two blocks north on Cleveland Street and at the Civic Center parking structure east of Coast Highway.
Several pay parking lots are located west of the railroad tracks.
All add an extra walk.
Harrison said news of valet service has been shared with Mainstreet Oceanside and on social media.
He added that he plans to let the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce and Oceanside Visitor’s Center know about the service for visitors.
Harrison said valet parking will soon be a mainstay in the growing downtown, and he plans to extend valet hours as the demand grows.
Valet service is currently offered Thursday through Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and is subject to customer demand.