Part of Ramona Street to close to help restaurants

Here's the entrance to Nola, left, at 535 Ramona St., and The Old Pro, right, at 541 Romona St. Google photo.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The city of Palo Alto will close part of Ramona Street starting Friday to give restaurants space for outdoor tables, City Manager Ed Shikada announced today.

The street will be closed from Hamilton Avenue to Nola at 535 Ramona St.

The restaurants on that portion of Ramona include The Old Pro, sweetgreen, Osteria Toscana, Coupe Cafe and Nola.

Parts of University Avenue and California Avenue are already closed for the city’s “Summer Streets” program to let restaurants seat people outside while their indoor dining rooms are closed due to the county coronavirus health order. City Council will consider extending those closures through December at its Monday meeting.

Restaurants on side streets near University Avenue have complained that the city is giving an unfair advantage to University Avenue establishments because they can put tables outdoors.

According to city data, University Avenue eateries are making 16-80% of their pre-pandemic profits while establishments on nearby streets are making 22-60% of what they used to make.

Judy Kleinberg, president of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, told the Post earlier this month that the city was looking at closing side streets to help some of those businesses.

But not everyone thinks the closed streets are a good idea.

Rob Fischer — owner of the Palo Alto Creamery at 566 Emerson St., Gravity Wine Bar at 544 Emerson St. and Reposado at 236 Hamilton Ave. — said he thinks closed streets have caused fewer people to come downtown. He said he doesn’t want the city to close side streets and he wants University Avenue reopened.

Part of University Avenue, between High to Emerson streets, will be reopened on Friday, according to Shikada’s announcement.