SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – When Takumi Abe helped open Kodaiko Ramen and Bar near the Golden 1 Center about a year and a half ago he knew he’d have competition.
“People want comfort food, people want an experience that they are familiar with. They don’t necessarily want to try something new,” Abe said.
Then came the pandemic.
His below-ground restaurant on K Street was forced to serve customers through takeout or outdoor dining.
Now, with the Sacramento Kings set to play without fans to start the season and with some state workers working from home, the foot traffic Abe was relying on is sparse.
Like many other restaurants, times are tough.
“Even people who are really looking for our business can walk right by it,” Abe told FOX40.
However, help may be on its way.
“So, Dine Downtown is returning for its 16th year, and this program really has an incredible following over the course of the last decade,” said Emilie Cameron with Dine Downtown.
Starting in 2005, restaurants participating in Dine Downtown offer three-course meals at fixed prices.
This year, brunch and lunch will be featured, as well as dinner.
It’s an opportunity for customers to try specialty dishes at places they may have not been to before.
The multi-week run of the program coming in January may not see customers inside this go around, but it does come a time when those businesses need patrons more than ever.
“We are adding elements like takeout and following the guidelines and kind of adjusting as we go to be able to give the restaurants every opportunity to reach their customer,” Cameron explained.
Dine Downtown obviously won’t solve all restaurants’ money issues, but for Abe, it’s a good start.
“It’s been difficult, just as difficult as any other business to adapt and try to figure out ways that we can bring people in or bring people down here,” Abe explained.
Kodaiko will soon offer curbside pickup for customer orders.
Officials with Dine Downtown told FOX40 that even if restaurants are not allowed to have customers eat outside, the program will continue with takeout.