There’s a new spin on outdoor dining in San Francisco that started this week. Outdoor dining domes have popped up at a high-end restaurant in the city’s SoMa neighborhood, KTLA sister station KRON in San Francisco reports.
In Mint Plaza, Sushi Hashiri set up the whole new dining experience, hoping to make diners feel safer. Three tall, translucent domes appeared on Wednesday on the restaurant’s patio for outdoor dining.
Kenichiro Matsuura, the restaurant’s manager, said he wanted to bring a new concept to the city while also giving guests peace of mind when dining during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We guide them to their tables,” Matsuura told KRON. “It’s not set at any point until they arrive. it’s very minimal contact.”
Nowadays, restaurants have to think out of the box to stay afloat, he explained.
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% 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. The restaurant is looking to get more of these outdoor dining domes soon.