Restaurant owners in Pleasanton not happy parklet program could end

The fate of Pleasanton’s downtown street closure and parklet program could be decided Tuesday night. The city’s staff is recommending that both end on Labor Day.

Some restaurant owners said outdoor dining parklets have been a big help in recouping losses from the pandemic. With the new Delta variant spreading, there is a lot of uncertainty with indoor dining.

Oyo Restaurant Owner Maurice Dissels enlisted the help of a Berkeley designer to construct an urban chic wooden pallet parklet that nearly doubled his seating. The price tag?

"It was north of $9,000," said Dissels. "We are a 49-seat restaurant and having this parklet during COVID was really a huge lifeline."

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He said down the street, Beer Baron used the same designer and spent $10,000 for its parklet. It was approved three weeks ago.

Now, all parklets may have to be removed come Labor Day when the city is looking to end its parklet program.

"I’m a little bit disappointed and I’m upset," said Dissels.

"Let’s be honest a lot of people, they don't want to walk," said Pleasanton City Councilmember Kathy Narum.

Narum said staff is recommending its original plan, to do away with closing Main Street on the weekends and parklets. Parking, the viewpoint it is a public right of way, and aesthetics are all factors.

"Some of the restaurants, the aesthetics are not what we want for Main Street," said Narum.

Narum estimates parklets take up 25 parking spaces. Parking is coveted in the downtown area with no parking structure and construction limiting parking even more. The Wine Steward owner is not OK with a long-term parklet program.

"A parklet consumes what four or five or six spaces, that’s not in the best interest of everyone in a downtown," said owner Jim Denham.

Todd Utikal is with the Tri-Valley Restaurant Group. The group along with the downtown association and chamber of commerce sent a letter to the council pushing to extend the parklet program until the end of the year.

"With COVID right now as an uncertainty with this variant, the worst thing would be is these restaurants are forced to break down their parklets and then have to set them back up come October if things get worse," said Utikal.

Most restaurant owners accept that Main Street will be back open to traffic but they want additional tables. Oyo’s owner said even though many people are vaccinated, the majority of his customers are requesting to dine outside.

Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or