In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Strada Eateria & Bar has opened its patio and courtyard—among following other safety procedures. Indoor dining, however, remains closed.
Nevertheless, managing partner Julian Andrei, who has worked in the hospitality industry for 21 years and opened Strada on July 1, believes the restaurant and bar has been lucky.
“I think our luck is how we designed the restaurant with outdoor dining. We’re in a unique position to stay open,” Andrei said. “I think we’ll continue operation with this formula.”
Strada currently only serves dinner from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 3 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Staff and guests must follow health-related procedures, too.
Servers now wear masks and face shields, and temperatures are checked at the host stand. There are several cleaning stations, each one with a sanitizing bottle and a sanitizing bucket. Tables are wiped after use and spaced 6 feet apart, and all the doors and windows are left open to increase ventilation. Plus, the break room for the staff has been moved outside rather than downstairs.
“If the state shuts down outdoor dining, we’ll have to do only takeout and perhaps delivery. But the plan is to now stay the course and offer outdoor dining,” Andrei said. “We have plenty of space and all the safety measures in place. We want the people to feel comfortable.”
At Strada, a new menu is printed every day, depending on availability. Though some of the meats have exotic names for European, Asian and South American recipes, the concept is mainly local.
The menu boasts a new lobster and wagyu truffle beef ravioli, boneless 16-ounce prime ribeye, salmon linguine, paella made with pasta, and Sand Brew Coffee.
Other items include Tapas of Bruschetta, made with tomato, garlic, cilantro, basil, olive oil, balsamic and ciabatta and priced at $8 (jamon costs an extra $3); Garden of Strada Caprese, made with buffalo mozzarella, tomato, basil, avocado, balsamic glaze, virgin olive oil and walnuts and priced at $15; Sea of Loch Etive Salmon, made with squid ink linguine, dill, cherry tomato, capelin caviar and radicchio and priced at $25; and Meadow of Filet Trio, made with charred cauliflower, mushrooms and green onion and priced at $39.
A late-night menu is planned for after the restaurant reopens. Set to be available on Fridays and Saturdays, it will include bar drinks along with burgers, wings, ceviche, tapas, salads and roasts.
Much of Strada’s ingredients are sourced from local food companies, like The LA Produce Market and Pacific Fresh Fish Co. in Downtown, and Melissa’s / World Variety Produce in Vernon.
Andrei also ages his own tequila, Strada Reposado, which is now available in-house and will debut for online takeout and pickup July 27. Andrei repurposes wine bottles and waxes them. Bottles cost $20 to $25.
Customers can order through the food delivery app Toast, and in the future via Uber Eats.
For those who stop by in person, three-hour free parking is available after 4 p.m. in the TCW building, located at Eighth Place and Francisco Street.
Commenting on the state of the restaurant industry and how it will ultimately deal with the coronavirus, Andrei said,
“Overall, I think the restaurant industry will survive, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be unchanged. A lot of concepts perhaps are not going to make it, such as speakeasies and restaurants without an outdoor space. But, we’ll still be able to go and dine out.”