After Al Fresco Dining Is Dashed, St. Vincent's Court Resembles a "Ghost Town"

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Photo: David Hilowitz/Flickr

The illegal, but quite charming, set-up of restaurant tables and chairs in Downtown's St. Vincent Square has been removed by order of the city, leading an al fresco dining area once compared to Paris to resemble what one owner now calls a "ghost town." Following complaints from Shahram Delijani, owner of the neighboring Los Angeles Theater, that the impromptu seating arrangement along this historically preserved alley was blocking her venue from accommodating film productions and trucks, the businesses are now bereft of outdoor seating, making success seemingly impossible for their owners.

Norayir Oz, who still operates St. Vincent's Deli here after 27 years, is unable to accommodate more than two diners inside his space at a time. As a result, he's now washing the restaurant's dishes after cutting his employees' hours. He complains to the Times, "After 27 years, someone makes a complaint, and I lose this business...It doesn't make sense." Meanwhile, City Councilman Jose Huizar, who is helping to spearhead the "Bring Back Broadway" initiative, is encouraging both parties to reach an mutually satisfying agreement that will generate better business for everyone, just as long as "each side gives a little."

Quaint downtown L.A. alley cleared of outdoor dining [LAT]