Air quality could be third strike for restaurants, but opposite seems true

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Wildfires surrounding the Central Valley are delivering a smoky sky with potentially dangerous air.

The terrible air quality could've been a third strike for a lot of restaurants. First, they got hit by the pandemic which forced them outside, then this heat wave, and now the air quality.

But in Clovis at Colton's Social House, the patio is packed.

And over at the two Casa Corona locations in Fresno, customers don't seem to mind much.

"They didn't seem to bat an eye at it," said assistant manager Ronnie Hamett. "They seemed to be excited just to be out and do something else beside sit inside their house. it was really nice. It doesn't seem to be as detrimental as I thought it would be."

Hamett says Casa Corona customers seem to want a taste of normalcy in a stressful time.

And they've tried to make it as comfortable as possible at the Cedar and Herndon location and the one at Bullard and West.

"We went out and grabbed as many shades as we could and threw them all up along the restaurant," Hamett said. "Went and bought some industrial strength mister fans."

Colton's Social House expanded into the Sierra Vista Mall parking lot, adding turf, umbrellas, and a big bus backdrop.

And the sepia-colored air hasn't kept customers away there either.

"I think some of that is due to the 20 outdoor coolers that we have as well as the misters so it's really helping keep the air moving in our environment," said owner Brittany Collins Dean. "So while there is a haze to the sky, our actual restaurant environment seems to be holding up really well."

They've rebranded a little too, turning the Social House into Social Therapy in trying times.

"We still think that being social and relational is really important and really like integral to our humanity, and so I wanted to figure out a way we could still do that in a safe way," said Collins Dean.

Their version of therapy clearly has an appeal.

They're so busy, they need to hire new employees and you can apply here.
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