Sidewalk cafes add ambience to Del Mar

By James Watkins

Del Mar resident

The adopted Del Mar Community Plan, the Del Mar Streetscape Plan, the recent Kennedy Smith Report and virtually every study done in Del Mar over the past 43 years all recommended and encouraged sidewalk cafes as a means to enhance the pedestrian orientation, character and vitality of our village.

Sidewalk cafes provide an ideal environment for social interaction and casual dining. They are a special place to enjoy a glass of wine with friends or simply to relax in the open air and watch as clouds change colors with the sunset.

Some people have questioned the need for the structural enclosures instead of simply putting tables on the sidewalk. The answer is twofold. One, the sidewalk on 15th Street is sloped as much as 8 feet. For comfort and stability, the chairs and tables have to be on a flat surface, thus the need for the patio construction. Second, the Alcoholic Beverage Control board requires the patio be enclosed so that no one can pass a glass to someone on the pedestrian pathway. However, to maintain an open appearance, the enclosures are glass panels and landscape plantings.

Others often have fears of anything new, just as with the L’Auberge hotel, which I built 20 years ago. The L’Auberge is now enjoyed by both residents and visitors alike and is a major contributor to both the social life and the economic stability of Del Mar.

The areas will be landscaped and the current unattractive bush like trees will be replaced with lovely jacaranda canopy trees so as not to obstruct the wonderful ocean views that all can enjoy while dining or having a drink with friends.

Upon completion, this sidewalk cafe will offer a delightful casual dining option for all residents and visitors alike to enjoy.