The City of Martinez announced on June 13th that the first of the city’s downtown outdoor dining and retail weekend programs would begin on the June 19th with the intent to facilitate safer access to downtown businesses.
This program mandated that Main Street would be closed to through-traffic between Alhambra and Court streets and Estudillo would be closed between Marina Vista and Escobar streets, with the purpose of extending the sidewalks and use of the streets of downtown Martinez to accommodate outdoor displays of merchandise and safe distance seating for outdoor customers of the restaurants. During this trial period to evaluate how successful this unique arrangement will be to help the community to restore businesses, it will be determined whether the plan may continue as is or further adjusted in the future.
This opening weekend seemed to be quite successful for those businesses which submitted a no-fee temporary permit describing how they would comply with the city’s specific opening regulations.
Roxx on Main street, as restaurant, is one good example of how well this program has so far served both the public and the restaurant’s successful opening during this trying time.
Leslie Styles is the executive chef, owner, and operator of this restaurant since August of 2019. She has been a restaurateur for 45 years; in addition, she used to own and operate the Haute Stuff restaurant and catering establishment on main street as well. She is a connoisseur of fresh produce and has previously authored columns in several publications, including “Community Focus” and the Contra Costa Times in the “Produce Pro” column.
Prior to the covid-19 shut down, Leslie said that their restaurant was definitely on a positive roll, demonstrating that they were doing very well. “Then we got slammed with this corona virus outbreak, and this has been a ridiculous and detrimental situation!”. Restaurant week-day service hours now are currently set for Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 am to 8 pm, and Saturdays 2 pm to 8 pm, and they will be closed on Sundays and Mondays. Main Street will close early on Friday and Saturday afternoons to provide for on street table setting. There will be no in-restaurant dining until July 1st. However, there will be both outside seating service and take-out orders in the interim.
The Williams family, including six individuals who took advantage of the opening, offered to this reporter a strong affirmation that the food was quite excellent, even better than expected for a community restaurant working under remarkably busy and demanding circumstances. Mr. Williams said that his Polenta Bake with organic chicken meatb alls was superb. At this outpouring of praise, each family member added to the chorus, singing a similar melody, with thumbs up around the table!
Another customer, Tina, sitting at an appropriate distance from the nearby large family group, chimed in to say this is a great restaurant and she loves to eat here. As the evening wore on, a growing number of people waited patiently and eagerly for this outdoor dining experience in the cool and comfortable Martinez evening air.
Cheyenne, one of Roxx’s waitresses, offered that previously she had only been able to work two days a week and is now quite happy that her employer is on track to open up even more days to serve their many customers and friends.