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'It means everything to me' | Restaurants rejoice as DOCO's Al Fresco dining experience returns

Organizers plan to keep this experience going with 55 tables every Friday through Sunday, weather permitting.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As coronavirus case rates are declining and the weather is starting to warm up, DOCO is bringing back their Al Fresco outdoor dining experience to downtown Sacramento, set up right outside of the Golden 1 Center. 

They were open for a little more than a month in September of 2020 before the weather started to turn.

"It means everything to me," said Kevin Owens, the operations manager for Echo & Rig.

For Owens at the Echo & Rig steakhouse, his life, like so many others, was flipped upside down when the pandemic struck. 

"There was tens of thousands of people walking through the DOCO checking into the hotel, going to the Kings games, and now there’s maybe 500 to 1000 daily and that’s not what we signed up for," he said.

That’s why he jumped on the opportunity to have his restaurant be one of six taking part in DOCO’s Al Fresco event. 

"It’s 100% needed, it’s the draw that the DOCO was supposed to be,” he said.

Other restaurants included are Local Eats at the Golden 1 Center, Polanco Cantina, Sauced BBQ & Spirits, Tahoe Blue Ridge Bar and Yard House.

"It is very reassuring that this mall and everything is revitalizing, which you know, it was pretty scary there for a while,” said Jewel Carbone, the assistant general manager of Polanco Cantina.

It's a similar story for Polanco Cantina.

"It really helped us out with sales, and going through COVID-19 and the shutdown so it really added more to our patio, and also gave customers the variety to order from all of the different restaurants," Carbone said.

John Rinehart with the Sacramento Kings says, you can rest assured, DOCO’s Al Fresco experience is following all coronavirus safety precautions.

"Being outside, I think offers you kind of that safety in itself, " Rinehart said. "But also you have the socially distanced tables, the QR code scanning, you don’t really have to go interact with a bunch of people, you scan at your table and then the food is delivered to your table."

Although it may still be a while before Sacramento can enjoy a live event inside of the Golden 1 Center, the goal is to breathe some new life into the area now that the weather is starting to warm up. 

"Hopefully this is just a way to get people back outside, interacting with each other, interacting with the restaurants and the retail shops, and really just vibrating downtown again and getting downtown Sacramento back where it used to be," Rinehart said.

Rinehart says that reservations online are recommended but not required and the plan is to keep this up every Friday through Sunday, weather permitting.

For more information, click here.

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