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Is it just us? or is parking a big factor?

  • w

More and more with the parking situation in San Francisco, my husband and I find ourselves opting for more easier parking restaurant if we had a choice. Once upon a time valet parking was thought of as a waste of money, now we gladly plop down the ten bucks in exchange for a chance to just walk into a restaurant without the round and round game. I know out there in culinary land there are so many undiscovery treasure, yet no parking keeps us away. Are we too lazy and chowhound unworthy, or are others doing the same?

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  1. I cherish high end places where I can find parking on my own. Josie's in Santa Monica comes to mind with it's huge public no charge lot behind it. When we visit SF we cab to the restaurant, which is fine, but when you get out at a late hour finding a cab can be a trick. I have asked the restaurant to call for a cab, but the wait has been really long a couple of times. When I have to use valet parking, I do, and like you don't begrudge them their fee. In fact, I always tip another buck or two to the person who actually returns the car, on top of the mandatory fee at the valet station.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Mike Kilgore

      Coming from a big city (Chicago), i have always found the cab situation in even medium-large cities (like SF) to be both irritating and mysterious. Come on Dallas, St.Louis, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Miami, ETC. (To say nothing of the worst offender: LA) Where the heck are your cabs? They should be both ubiquitous and fast to appear. Instead they are costly and inaccessable.

      1. re: Cliff

        Personally, I think the best cab service is in NYC. (I've never been to Chicago). Half the time you have to call for a cab in D.C. & S.F. and lucky you, if you can even FIND a cab in L.A. In L.A. everyone drives their own car or uses a bus. Just because it's a big city apparently doesn't matter at all. They've been talking about subways in L.A. for almost 50 years. That's about all it is...talk.

        1. re: Kit H.

          No, we actually have a subway now. It services appoximetly .05% of our city. It does have some really nice art in the stations though.

          1. re: Mike Kilgore

            At least in LA you can call a cab... and it comes!

            1. re: JudiAU

              unless you are in Westwood... two weeks ago I did just that -- for a quick ride down from Sepulveda to Santa Monica (probably less than 2 miles?). It took the cab 90 minutes to show up after I had called.

    2. Yep, Dallas really doesn't have cabs in a NY kinda way, but it's getitng better. You'll find them outside most hotels (Zaza, Adophus, Fairmont) and clubs (Ghostbar, Sense, Candleroom, Medici) and now some of the larger or hotter restaurants like Abacus, Nobu, Craft, Hibiscus.

      But back to the original post, I too hate going to places that have no parking. And in SF, I once drove for hours looking for a space, only to walk forever to get to where I was going (some place in Chinatown with great dumplings)!

      At least in Dallas, we're fortunate that if you're willing to walk (or get there early), you can nag street parking for just about anywhere. Now, that might annoy some residents who live near hotspots, but most streets around really heavy hot spots have severe parking restrictions (all over the knox/ Henderson area for example) making it impossible to park there at night anyway.

      TT

      1. It's very much an issue in downtown Richmond, VA. I am a horrible parallel parker. Two of our favorite local restaurant, Edo's Squid and Comfort, it's really a pain and sometimes I don't want to go to either place because I'm not in the mood to deal with the parking issue.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Janet from Richmond

          I am proud to say that I once parallel parked outside the Tobacco Co. in Shockoe Slip, Richmond, VA. I squeezed between an Audi and a Mercedes and was probably touching both when I was done!

          I don't know what the solution to the chronic parking crisis is: If you have to pay $10 to park for lunch everyday, then that can easily eclipse the cost of the meal. But then free street parking is taken up early in the morning (by commuters and workers) leaving no space for restaurant customers.

          In either case, retail and dining customers stay away and it's the establishments that ultimately suffer.

          TT

        2. Parking is a big factor in Boston where free parking is extinct. It's normal to pay $10+ for parking at many of the downtown restaurants. Driving in Boston can also be a thrilling experience.

          4 Replies
          1. re: cheryl_h

            Tell me about it... I felt like I was in the Minotaur's maze when driving into Boston... but at least it has a decent transportation system (at least when I visited) foor such a small city, so getting to places for chow wasn't too bad.

            1. re: Blueicus

              Yes the subways are excellent, though for 2 people to travel to and from a destination it's going to cost $5. I'm terrified every time I have to drive in downtown Boston and I've lived here over 10 years. I pity visitors.

              1. re: cheryl_h

                Ah, but what is the exact cost of using your car to drive to and from and park? I'll bet it is a good bit more than $5.

                We don't have a car and use public transit and taxis in Boston to get to our chow.

                To give you the car-free parallel to this conversation. We find we don't go to restaurants that are far from public transit as often because of the extra cost of the cabs.

                We almost never choose dining destinations we must rent a car to reach because then one of us has to forgo wine to drive home. You become spoiled when driving home never enters your decisions about beverages.

                1. re: BostonZest

                  I assume you're in Boston or close to the city? We're about 30 miles west so not driving is not an option. We can drive to the nearest T station, pay a parking fee and proceed from there. This is comparable with driving into and parking in the city.

                  I don't drink alcohol so that's never a factor.

          2. I am proud to say that I once parallel parked outside the Tobacco Co. in Shockoe Slip, Richmond, VA. I squeezed between an Audi and a Mercedes and was probably touching both when I was done!

            I don't know what the solution to the chronic parking crisis is: If you have to pay $10 to park for lunch everyday, then that can easily eclipse the cost of the meal. But then free street parking is taken up early in the morning (by commuters and workers) leaving no space for restaurant customers.

            In either case, retail and dining customers stay away and it's the establishments that ultimately suffer.

            TT