Inglewood restaurants struggle with indoor dining ban

INGLEWOOD — Most restaurants are struggling in Inglewood’s Market Street district, as indoor dining was banned for the second time during the coronavirus pandemic three weeks ago.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom made the decision to suspend indoor dining in Los Angeles County and 31 other counties in the state prior to the Fourth of July weekend.

Unlike Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach, there is a lack of outdoor dining options in Inglewood. In response, some restaurants have limited their normal hours and focused strictly on take-out and delivery orders.

As people continue to stay at home because of the pandemic, expanding delivery options have helped Little Belize Restaurant, a Caribbean spot on Nutwood Street between Market and La Brea, stay open.

“It’s sustaining us,” said Errol Gillett, the manager at Little Belize Restaurant. “We have business here and there in spurts. It’s really not as good as when we have dine-in open.”

Little Belize Restaurant has been a go to spot for stewed chicken and oxtail for the past eight years in Inglewood. 

“The percentages have dropped in our sales,” Gillett said. “It’s just not good. … We don’t have as many customers as we used to have.”

Gillett said Little Belize Restaurant was closed for two or three weeks at the beginning of the pandemic. Management made the difficult decision to cut hours and reopen with fewer staff members and serve their community.

“By staying open for the community, some of the customers say we’re glad that you’re open because everywhere else is closed down.” Gillett said. “They give us good comments on our, food so that gives us encouragement.”

Other restaurants along the Market Street corridor tell similar stories. Without patio seating, they are also focusing solely on take-out and delivery to try and make enough money to continue operations.

Two restaurants, in particular, that have consistently had customers standing outside in long lines to patronize their establishments: the well-known Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and Dulan’s, a popular soul food spot on Manchester Boulevard.

Employees at those locations were too busy to comment on their secrets to success.

By John W. Davis

Contributing Writer