In addition to offering take-out meals, many restaurants in Merced and Atwater are thinking outside the box and industriously converting their outdoor spaces to outdoor dining in compliance with state guidelines during the pandemic.
Restaurants with outdoor dining which deserve praise for their innovative thinking are too numerous for the Times to mention, but the following are a few of them:
• The Bar B Q Pit at 1720 G Street in Merced has outdoor dining at five socially distanced tables available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Toni’s Courtyard Café at 516 W. 18th Street in Merced is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday. Breakfast is served until 10:30 a.m., and lunch is served from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Guests are seated outdoors on the back patio, and their tables are set up for social distancing.
• Strings Italian Café at 731 E. Yosemite Avenue in Merced is open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Guests are served on the outdoor patio at 12 tables, socially distanced.
• The Branding Iron Restaurant at 640 W. 16th Street in Merced is open for outdoor dining Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The guests will be seated in two places — the original patio which has new flooring, and the back parking lot which has a grassy area and is shaded by two trees. The tables are socially distanced. (The restaurant is also offering take-out meals and take-out alcoholic beverages.)
• Black Bear Diner at 1435 V Street in Merced is offering outdoor dining at 10 tables located in front of the restaurant, which seat four guests each. The guests are enjoying eating outdoors under umbrellas. The restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.
• Five Ten Bistro at 510 W. Main Street in Merced has always offered patio dining, but they have adjusted the number of outdoor tables for social distancing and have brought in two big swamp coolers and some portable fans to cool down the patio for the guests’ comfort. The restaurant has also installed shade sails and umbrellas. The hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• Destino’s at 460 W. Main Street in Merced has outdoor seating on the patio in front of the restaurant set up for social distancing. The hours for outdoor dining are Monday through Thursday from11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
• Jantz Café at 3361 G Street in Merced has a back patio and a front patio set up for outdoor dining with a total of nine tables, socially distanced. The restaurant is following COVID-19 sanitation guidelines. The hours the restaurant is open for outdoor dining are Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Ravello’s Restaurant at 560 W. 18th Street in Merced has set up socially distanced outdoor dining at four tables on the main patio and three tables on the side patio, one of which has seating for up to eight people. Outdoor dining hours are 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
• Los Pancho’s Restaurant at 2971 G Street in Merced has nine outdoor dining tables socially distanced underneath a canopy in the parking lot. The outdoor dining hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• The Almond Tree Restaurant at 1490 Sycamore Avenue in Atwater has outdoor dining at six tables in the front of the building where a canopy is set up, six tables on the back patio, and eight tables in the parking lot under a canopy. The restaurant’s hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
• Josie’s Mexican American Bar & Grill at 1301 Commerce Avenue in Atwater will have outdoor dining available Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., starting July 30. Customers will be seated at a few tables outdoors where there is shade. The current hours are subject to change.
• Isabella’s Bar & Grill at 2811 Shaffer Road in Atwater has outdoor dining available from to 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Five tables are currently set up, and fans are used to cool off the customers. The restaurant plans to add five or six more tables in a grassy area.
• Applebee’s at 1734 W. Olive Avenue in Merced has set up outdoor dining, and is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. There are five tents in the parking lot, with one table under each tent for social distancing. The tents are in the shade under the trees. Applebee’s recently started its outdoor seating with five tables and will add more tables as the number of customers increases.