Santa Clara Allowing Outdoor Dining at Restaurants, Idea Pushed by Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe


By Robert Haugh

In Santa Clara, outdoor dining is already allowed at some restaurants. 

Now all Mission City restaurants can apply for a permit to set up dining outside. 

Restaurants can apply online. The application and review are free.

Permit fees usually cost $2,000 to $6,000 but will be waived. The process usually takes three months but will be fast tracked now.

The idea was pushed by Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe in May.

Watanabe represents the Northside. She initially asked if Rivermark restaurants could set up outside during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Then, her idea expanded to cover the entire City.

City staff will review proposals to make sure they are handicap accessible and other basic requirements. Restaurants can use up to 50 percent of their parking area for outdoor dining.

Completed applications can also be emailed to

For questions, email or call 408-615-2450.

Santa Clara Restaurants

Here’s a list we’ve publicized in the past of some Mission City businesses that are open and offering to-go or delivery options.

  • Tony & Alba’s Pizza on Stevens Creek
  • Mio Vicino at Franklin Square — Offering a $12.99 takeout special if you mention “stuck inside” at order.
  • Fiorillo’s — open for takeout, delivery and outdoor dining.
  • Mountain Mike’s Pizza at Franklin Square — open for takeout and delivery.
  • China Stix at Santa Clara Town Centre — open 7 days a week for takeout.
  • Neto’s Sausage — online ordering only for delivery.
  • Taplands Neighborhood Brewery on Homestead at Franklin Square — open for delivery and limited hours for outdoor dining.
  • Jiaren Cafe in Franklin Square — offering delivery and takeout orders
  • Voyager Craft Coffee on Stevens Creek —offering takeout and delivery
  • Mission City Grill — open for takeout, delivery and limited outdoor dining.
  • La Paloma — open for takeout and delivery
  • Freedom Burrito — open for takeout and delivery
  • Taste of Pho at 2450 El Camino — open for takeout
  • Seniore’s Pizza on Monroe — open for takeout and delivery
  • Lock Chun on Stevens Creek near Woodhams — open for take out
  • El Amigo Burrito Stevens Creek near Woodhams — open for take out
  • A Slice of New York Pizza on Stevens Creek — open for takeout. Also now offering personal 10” pizzas.
  • Crepes Bistro on Washington Street — open for takeout and delivery
  • Chef Ming’s — On Washington Street open for takeout
  • Pizza Guys — Open for delivery and takeout
  • White Elephant Thai on El Camino at Lafayette — open for takeout and delivery
  • Ramen One on Saratoga — open for takeout and delivery
  • Poor Boys on Homestead — open for takeout and delivery
  • Bay Area Pizza — open for takeout
  • Zanotto’s Markets— offering a dedicated hour 8 to 9 a.m. to shopping for those over 60.
  • Stan’s Donuts — takeout/pickup only
  • Armadillos Willy’s — open for takeout and delivery

Editor’s Note: Please call businesses or check their social media updates for hours and specials. Delivery services like Caviar, DoorDash, GrubHub, Coffee Growlers and others are available. Many have no-contact delivery options.


  1. I really like what San Jose is doing. Santa Clara should follow:

    San Jose Extends Al Fresco Concept to Allow ‘Parklets’

    The City of San Jose is making it easier for businesses to apply, at no cost, for a “parklet” in the parking spaces in front of their business. A parklet is a set of parking spaces blocked from traffic, often with outdoor dining.

    The temporary permit applies only to businesses located on a street in a commercial area, where the posted speed limit is 25 mph or less. The City will provide and install the traffic barriers at no charge to the business. Businesses can apply as a group in commercial areas.

    The temporary parklet permit will be valid through December 31, 2020, or until the Shelter-In-Place restrictions are removed. More information and links to the application process are available at the Al Fresco webpage.

  2. Seeing today’s Covid increase makes an idea conjured in MAY look horrifically stupid on July 1 2020!

  3. Thank you Councilwoman Watanabe. This is a good thing for restaurants in Santa Clara and those of us who support them.

  4. Outdoor dinning is over due. Nowhere safer than outdoors.
    And while we are at it, why not outdoor haircuts? Most services do not require a special chair.

  5. Hi Robert, thank you for the shout out. There had been rumors that limited outside dining might be allowed by the County and I wanted to make sure that the City was ready if and when it happened. Thank you to the City for putting a permit plan in place so uickly and waiving the fees. This will have a positive on our local restaurants. Thank you for sharing the list of restaurants. I want to add a few more from the Northside:

    Red Robin (Rivermark Plaza) – open for outside dining and takeout. No reservation needed.

    Premier Pizza (Rivermark Plaza) – open for outside dining (3-4 tables) and takeout;

    Piatti’s (Rivermark Plaza) – open for outside dining (lots of tables with umbrellas and Sunday brunch. CALL FOR RESERVATION: (408) 330-9212. Also offering takeout; and

    Pedro’s (Freedom Circle) – open for outside dining (actually they have quite a few tables!) and takeout. They still have their wonderful margarita’s too! No reservation needed.

    Thanks again, Robert!

  6. I brought up the idea of closing off Jackson Street for outdoor dining and allowing Taplands to expand into the square with Mayor Gillmor at a mask distribution event and she said that it was up to the City Manager to handle that. She also said that the little plaza outside Taplands is private property so there is little that the City can do. I’m glad to see that the City is being more proactive about helping our restaurants and waiving fees.

    • Well I hope this is not the beginning of hawkers and vendors sitting with their wares on the sidewalk or parking places. Do we have to absolutely open restaurants for dining? They are already open for takeout and delivery anyways. Will open dining able to add much to their revenue?

    • Wow, Girish, a sad commentary from you because folks who are hoping to get their jobs back are being able to working outside and restaurants are making more money and guess what! TAX MONEY FOR CITY!

      It’s all good, my friend. Go take your family outside for a dinner.

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