Happy Half Hour / Jeff Rossman

Welcome back to the Happy Half Hour! We had so many questions about the state of San Diego’s restaurants that we went into overtime with today’s guest, Jeff Rossman. Jeff is the owner of Terra American Bistro in La Mesa, a longtime advocate for local farmers, and president of the San Diego Chapter of the California Restaurant Association, one of the largest advocacy and lobbying groups for the industry in the state.

Where things stand, many small businesses are projected to run out of money from Paycheck Protection Program loans, the minimum wage in California is scheduled to increase in January, and the HEALS Act is still being debated in Congress. Jeff helps us unpack how this all affects restaurants, and shares what he feels politicians don’t understand about what restaurants need.

While many restaurants were able to make the shift to outdoor dining, this may not be sustainable in the long run—despite San Diego’s weather being mild compared to other parts of the country. Jeff says restaurant owners are worried that people won’t want to dine outdoors once temperatures drop, and points out that many restaurants were not able to create an outdoor dining space and are still relying solely on takeout. He also talks about why “ghost kitchens” may not be the right solution for everyone, and other concerns the industry has once fall comes. Listen in to find out more.

In Hot Plates, we tried to cover as much positive news as we could this week. There’s a new Chinese American restaurant in Normal Heights led by local chef Tony Guan, more Nashville chicken is coming to town (specifically La Mesa), Jeune et Jolie hired a new acclaimed chef from Los Angeles, and The Friendly in North Park reopened its patio and unveiled a fun new cocktail.

In Two People for Takeout, Jeff’s pick is Tak Grill Fresh Mediterranean Food in San Carlos, and he recommends the shawarma. Troy likes The Flying Pig Pub in Oceanside, and David chose the döner bowl and chili at Amplified Ale Works in Pacific Beach.

Thank you for listening! As always, we want to hear from our listeners. Do you have a question for Troy? Need a recommendation for takeout? Is there a guest you want us to book on the show? Let us know! You can call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a voicemail, or if you’re too shy, you can email us at happyhalfhour@sdmag.com.

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