News

Outdoor dining briefly resumes, closes at SideTrack Bar + Grill

Owner: 'Without any guidelines, we felt that we had the right to open'

After briefly reopening for outdoor dining last weekend, one downtown Pleasanton restaurant switched back to takeout only on Tuesday.

Todd Utikal told the Weekly he "received a very good tip" that "someone from the health department is coming (Wednesday)," and decided to cancel patio dining at his restaurant, SideTrack Bar + Grill, located just off Main Street on West Angela Street.

"At this point, I now know we're in violation of the shelter-in-place order if we stay open," Utikal said.

With the state's stay-at-home order not officially extended at the time since going into effect Dec. 5, Utikal resumed outdoor dining at his establishment last Friday, the same day the Bay Area's regional intensive care unit (ICU) capacity fell to 3% capacity. ICU capacity dropped below 1% this week.

SideTrack was one of "only about 10 (restaurants) that opened" in the Tri-Valley for outdoor dining last Friday, Utikal said, including McKay's Taproom and Beer Garden just a couple blocks away.

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Utikal said he notified city officials including the mayor about opening for outdoor service because "I wanted to be very upfront that we were doing this, out of respect for them."

"Without any guidelines, we felt that we had the right to open," he added.

Like many other restaurants, the takeout only model has hurt revenue at SideTrack, where profits are down 70% since a year ago, according to Utikal.

"All you can do is try to manage your food costs, your labor costs. It's just not what we've built," Utikal said.

A number of precautions were taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among staff and diners before switching back to takeout only, he said.

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"It's very open air," Utikal added. "We have two patios. We even remove a couple more tables just to make sure everyone was distanced as well as they could be."

Taking such measures and still being prohibited from serving food and drinks on site has compounded his frustration with the extension. Utikal claimed Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss even told him recently that it was no longer sensible to keep patio dining closed, and "he'd hopefully help us advocate to the state for reopening."

Though only briefly open, many SideTrack patrons found solace in the previously common act of going out to eat from Friday to Monday.

"We are social beings," Utikal said. "We need to be out and as long as we can provide a safe environment. We should be able to do so."

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Outdoor dining briefly resumes, closes at SideTrack Bar + Grill

Owner: 'Without any guidelines, we felt that we had the right to open'

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 6:50 pm

After briefly reopening for outdoor dining last weekend, one downtown Pleasanton restaurant switched back to takeout only on Tuesday.

Todd Utikal told the Weekly he "received a very good tip" that "someone from the health department is coming (Wednesday)," and decided to cancel patio dining at his restaurant, SideTrack Bar + Grill, located just off Main Street on West Angela Street.

"At this point, I now know we're in violation of the shelter-in-place order if we stay open," Utikal said.

With the state's stay-at-home order not officially extended at the time since going into effect Dec. 5, Utikal resumed outdoor dining at his establishment last Friday, the same day the Bay Area's regional intensive care unit (ICU) capacity fell to 3% capacity. ICU capacity dropped below 1% this week.

SideTrack was one of "only about 10 (restaurants) that opened" in the Tri-Valley for outdoor dining last Friday, Utikal said, including McKay's Taproom and Beer Garden just a couple blocks away.

Utikal said he notified city officials including the mayor about opening for outdoor service because "I wanted to be very upfront that we were doing this, out of respect for them."

"Without any guidelines, we felt that we had the right to open," he added.

Like many other restaurants, the takeout only model has hurt revenue at SideTrack, where profits are down 70% since a year ago, according to Utikal.

"All you can do is try to manage your food costs, your labor costs. It's just not what we've built," Utikal said.

A number of precautions were taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among staff and diners before switching back to takeout only, he said.

"It's very open air," Utikal added. "We have two patios. We even remove a couple more tables just to make sure everyone was distanced as well as they could be."

Taking such measures and still being prohibited from serving food and drinks on site has compounded his frustration with the extension. Utikal claimed Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss even told him recently that it was no longer sensible to keep patio dining closed, and "he'd hopefully help us advocate to the state for reopening."

Though only briefly open, many SideTrack patrons found solace in the previously common act of going out to eat from Friday to Monday.

"We are social beings," Utikal said. "We need to be out and as long as we can provide a safe environment. We should be able to do so."

Comments

LWu
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jan 13, 2021 at 12:47 pm
LWu, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jan 13, 2021 at 12:47 pm
76 people like this

Sidetracks was packed outside at dining area last weekend. I was shocked since every other restaurant following the rules. Not cool Sidetracks - I won’t go there now.


Guillermo M.
Registered user
Downtown
on Jan 13, 2021 at 11:11 pm
Guillermo M., Downtown
Registered user
on Jan 13, 2021 at 11:11 pm
44 people like this

@“LWu”...I feel sorry for your heartless soul. If you only knew that over 70% of the restaurants you see downtown right now will be closed, their owners bankrupt, homes in foreclosure, their employees out of work, their suppliers & their employees also, out of work you wouldn’t have such a smug & cavalier tone. You are not just “staying home & saving lives” you are in fact staying home to destroy lives.

The sheer ignorance of the Covid sheep never ceases to amaze & infuriate me. When you finally emerge from your basement & wonder why this town looks like a ghost town have fun getting take out from McDonalds.

All for a flu with a 99.87% chance of survival...???


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 13, 2021 at 11:47 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 13, 2021 at 11:47 pm
50 people like this

I’ll start ordering more from sidetracks

Time to increase support businesses that see the guidelines as inconsistent, irrational, and un-American.

Covid is real. Businesses are real. We can manage a life where we respect and operate with both.


BobB
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jan 14, 2021 at 9:58 am
BobB, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jan 14, 2021 at 9:58 am
16 people like this

I feel terrible for the people who have lost their businesses or their jobs because of covid-19 restrictions and lock-downs. Shame on us as a society that we couldn't have taken better care of them. If we are going to force businesses to close, we should pay them until they can open. Please, whenever you can and if you can, get takeout from the restaurants you used to visit and just send money to businesses that are closed.

That said, covid-19 is real and many people have lost their lives or have suffered long term health problems from it. The lock-downs, masking, and social distancing have saved many lives. Vaccines are here and people are getting them. We are on our way to herd immunity, but it is going to be a while longer.

To Guillermo M,

I lost a coworker who was a good friend last week to this disease. This isn't influenza, and its infection fatality rate, or "how likely someone is to die based on both confirmed and unconfirmed COVID cases, is around 0.5 or 0.6%" That makes the survival rate around 99.4% to 99.5% on average. And that gets worse when hospitals and ICUs are overwhelmed.

Web Link

People are dying. Wearing a mask isn't being weak or being a sheep. It is saving lives.

Web Link


Claudette McDermott
Registered user
Del Prado
on Jan 14, 2021 at 11:25 am
Claudette McDermott, Del Prado
Registered user
on Jan 14, 2021 at 11:25 am
21 people like this

We don't want to become another L.A. and find that we need to move refrigerator units in the hospital parking lots as a morgue or have patients on gurneys in the halls because COVID has overwhelmed our medical community.

Behavior from Patrons and Restaurants alike, going agains our CDC and government restrictions, and feigning ignorance, will bring destruction to our community and the Bay Area. California is in bad shape, don't make it worse!

Many are out of work and business find it hard to survive, I get it, but making the situation worse doesn't make it right. Keep our community safe by following the guidelines. TAKE OUT ONLY


Claudette McDermott
Registered user
Del Prado
on Jan 14, 2021 at 11:36 am
Claudette McDermott, Del Prado
Registered user
on Jan 14, 2021 at 11:36 am
23 people like this

I'm shocked to see that the owner of Side Track, stated he had NOTIFIED THE MAYOR and a City Health Official and they were both aware of the restaurants being open for outside dinning when it was clear, Alameda was on Shut Down... When government leaders choose to go against the rules, why should anyone else follow them?? You are just as at fault, when someone is infected because you choose to make your own rules. That is not leading.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 14, 2021 at 9:28 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 14, 2021 at 9:28 pm
24 people like this

Stay open. Stop abiding by guidelines that don’t make sense. If Costco and Walmart and kohl’s and Safeway and Home Depot can be open so can restaurants.

Open, take control of your destiny. Operate safely and responsibly, but the Bay Area shaming needs to stop. Now.

Don’t like it. Don’t go.


very trying times
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2021 at 9:21 am
very trying times, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 15, 2021 at 9:21 am
13 people like this

LWu..... sorry you feel that way. You actually have at least 5 more restaurants to ban for the rest of your life. Also a few barber shops and nail salons. But at this point they may close all together and leave downtown a ghost town. Until we walk in their shoes.....everyone is suffering in different ways. Would be so nice to see more compassion.


Jake Waters
Registered user
Birdland
on Jan 15, 2021 at 9:22 am
Jake Waters, Birdland
Registered user
on Jan 15, 2021 at 9:22 am
9 people like this

@ Guillermo M.
@ Pleasanton Parent

I will add as well that we have been attending and supporting our town’s restaurants. My heart goes out to all the businesses trying to do what they can to stay in service. Our attendance and dollars are all we have to impact this problem.

Propaganda has been the life and blood for sustaining this flu. CDC has already said, but MSM won’t report it, that the alleged COVID deaths are over reported and the real figure is about 6% of that which is recorded. Hospitals this time of year are always affected, and this hasn’t been as high as other years through the flu season. I’m spit balling here, but I believe there is going to be a miraculous turn in the ‘fight’ against this virus when that other guy gets into office. COVID may just up and disappear as a- well you get the visual.

We have more to fear from Gavin regarding, just to mention a few, our give-away of electricity, and his water vision going forward in this state. And what about that $1 billion to China? Hold onto your wallets.

Thank you all for the debate and allowing us to participate in expressing opinions in our heritage of free speech. May that right always prevail in this country. God bless you all and God bless the United States of America.


BobB
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2021 at 9:44 am
BobB, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 15, 2021 at 9:44 am
24 people like this

@Jake Waters,

NO, MY FRIEND DIDN'T DIE OF "THE FLU" OR ANYTHING ELSE. HE DIED OF COVID-19.
STOP REPEATING LIES!

You are a well known anti-vaxxer and are spreading more lies here - dangerous lies. The CDC never said it "overestimated" covid-19 deaths. They said they likely underestimated covid-19 deaths. What you said was a fabrication. People who believe those crazy conspiracy theories and refuse to wear masks and socially distance are causing real harm and causing real deaths.

"Viral claim that only 6% of COVID-19 deaths were caused by the virus is flat-out wrong"

Web Link

Web Link

Pleasanton Weekly editors, please consider removing the "real figure" nonsense from "Jake Waters" like you have some of the other nonsense that sometimes gets posted here.


John
Registered user
Birdland
on Jan 15, 2021 at 10:15 am
John, Birdland
Registered user
on Jan 15, 2021 at 10:15 am
9 people like this

BobB. Please give it a rest. WAM (Wear A Mask) WYH (Wash Your Hands) SD (Social Distance) or WAMWYHSD. Just write that from now on and save everybody time. You harp the same stuff over and over. You are not changing any minds, nor will anyone change yours. You really are tedious.


Jake Waters
Registered user
Birdland
on Jan 15, 2021 at 7:37 pm
Jake Waters, Birdland
Registered user
on Jan 15, 2021 at 7:37 pm
7 people like this

BobB

Sorry Bob, but your constant lectures are overshadowed by all the truth coming out about this virus. Now that the other guy is coming in, more and more information is going to cool your heels. It’s time to give it up and walk away. Our businesses need to open, teachers need to get back to the classrooms, and Gavin needs to stop the lockdowns. Furthermore, because you fail to listen or comprehend, I am not against vaccines- I just don’t take them because I’ve done my research, and I choose not to have those elements in my body. You want a vaccine, then take one, but don’t read into my decision not to.


BobB
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jan 15, 2021 at 8:25 pm
BobB, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jan 15, 2021 at 8:25 pm
9 people like this

@Jake Waters,

My friend is dead! Your conspiracy crap is the problem. Stick to denying the moon landing or claiming the Earth is flat. Your anti-vaxx, anti mask crap is getting people killed. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
(Post edited from all caps...)


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 15, 2021 at 8:50 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 15, 2021 at 8:50 pm
7 people like this

BobB,
I’m sorry your friend passed away. That is sad.

But let’s be honest, he had underlying conditions didn’t he?

You claim others ignore science, but you ignore statistics, and while I understand the pain of loosing someone near and dear is tragic, it doesn’t allow us to make decisions for the world on individual isolated experiences.

I’m sure your tune would be different if you owned a business and had to let your whole staff go, lost your house, etc.

Again, sorry for your loss.


Guillermo M.
Registered user
Downtown
on Jan 15, 2021 at 11:16 pm
Guillermo M., Downtown
Registered user
on Jan 15, 2021 at 11:16 pm
8 people like this

Just an update from Christmas & NYE. Our entire extended family (five children, eight grandchildren & one great grandchild spent the entire holiday season with our family & 12-18 other friends. ZERO cases of the flu. Oh it’s real all right, our 81 year old uncle tested positive, had mild respiratory conditions & stopped smoking cigars for three weeks. If you include our 77 year old family friend who was 300+lbs. & was diabetic, had hypertension & high cholesterol then yes, we do know ONE person who was classified as dying from the Rona. On behalf of the entire Martinez-Liberia familia we wholeheartedly can shenanigans on this unlawful & foolish shutdown! Viu les teves vides! (oh yeah, “live your lives” for those who don’t speak Catalan)


James Michael
Registered user
Val Vista
on Jan 15, 2021 at 11:43 pm
James Michael, Val Vista
Registered user
on Jan 15, 2021 at 11:43 pm
6 people like this

@Guillermo...This Castillian agrees. I stand with you, my brother.


MichaelB
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 16, 2021 at 7:25 am
MichaelB, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 16, 2021 at 7:25 am
5 people like this

"Behavior from Patrons and Restaurants alike, going agains our CDC and government restrictions, and feigning ignorance, will bring destruction to our community and the Bay Area. California is in bad shape, don't make it worse! Many are out of work and business find it hard to survive, I get it, but making the situation worse doesn't make it right. Keep our community safe by following the guidelines."


The situation is being made worse. Apparently, it's not good enough that we have social distancing requirements, the mandatory usage of masks, and a vaccine that is coming. Gavin Newsom is demanding a so called "equity index" as a condition before businesses in the state will be allowed to reopen. So how many more people are going to have to remain unemployed, their lives disrupted, and their businesses closed for good - just so "progressive" politicians can promote their divisive (and irritating) "systemic racism" message?


BobB
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2021 at 5:18 pm
BobB, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 16, 2021 at 5:18 pm
9 people like this

Guillermo M,

What you and your family did was selfish, reckless, and foolish.


James Michael
Registered user
Val Vista
on Jan 16, 2021 at 8:03 pm
James Michael, Val Vista
Registered user
on Jan 16, 2021 at 8:03 pm
6 people like this

People can't go to work, kids can't go to school, restaurants and bars can't open but politicians, who by the way were fist in line for the vaccine, can show up in Sacramento and DC? Does anyone other than me detect something amiss here?


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 16, 2021 at 9:41 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 16, 2021 at 9:41 pm
8 people like this

Stop virtue signaling BobB. No one is making you make the same choices.


BobB
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2021 at 10:54 pm
BobB, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 16, 2021 at 10:54 pm
6 people like this

Pleasanton Parent,

You stop virtue signaling.

Those choices are killing people.


John
Registered user
Birdland
on Jan 17, 2021 at 8:57 am
John, Birdland
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2021 at 8:57 am
4 people like this

BobB. Remember WAMWYHSD That is all you get to say.


BobB
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2021 at 9:17 am
BobB, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2021 at 9:17 am
2 people like this

@"John" aka "Jake Waters",

Stay off the fringe conspiracy web sites. You are spreading foolish nonsense about vaccines and covid-19. Nearly 400,000 people have died of it in the US alone.


BobB
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2021 at 9:21 am
BobB, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2021 at 9:21 am
4 people like this

@PP,

I'm paid to do statistics for a living. I'm currently doing bio-informatics. Do you have a background in science, medicine, or biomedical engineering?

Jake Waters sounds like he gets his medical information from conspiracy theory websites and used car salesmen.


John
Registered user
Birdland
on Jan 17, 2021 at 10:02 am
John, Birdland
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2021 at 10:02 am
4 people like this

BobB. I am not Jake Waters. Remember WAMWYHSD


John
Registered user
Birdland
on Jan 17, 2021 at 10:02 am
John, Birdland
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2021 at 10:02 am
4 people like this

BobB. I believe in vacinations.


BobB
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jan 17, 2021 at 10:48 am
BobB, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2021 at 10:48 am
4 people like this

Sure "John", you "believe in vaccinations". You just won't get vaccinated because you've "done your own research." We know. We've heard that nonsense before.


John
Registered user
Birdland
on Jan 17, 2021 at 10:52 am
John, Birdland
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2021 at 10:52 am
6 people like this

I am getting vaccinated as soon as I am eligible. Remember BobB WAMWYHSD


BobB
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2021 at 11:19 am
BobB, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2021 at 11:19 am
2 people like this

Good for you John.


BobB
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jan 17, 2021 at 11:22 am
BobB, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2021 at 11:22 am
4 people like this

UK nations have managed to turn the tide on COVID cases.

Web Link

Explore UK local data on cases, deaths, hospitalisations here: Web Link


John
Registered user
Birdland
on Jan 17, 2021 at 12:16 pm
John, Birdland
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2021 at 12:16 pm
6 people like this

BobB Please stick to WAMWYHSD


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