Event company

In the absence of festivals, this event company wants to use its equipment to reinvent our culinary scene • the Hi-lo

“We sent our first truck to the valley and then, bam, it’s all done,” Choura said. “But you know, I’ve never been one to see things as dark and gloomy, and as we started donating materials to help set up temporary hospitals [like the overflow space at the Pasadena Convention Center for its hospital] and test centers, I really wanted to focus on something local.

The focus is now on Long Beach restaurants taking its in-house equipment to first build a parklet at Michael’s in Naples in hopes it will eventually help other restaurants create outdoor spaces.

Carl Dene [left] and Ryan Shoura.

With limited capacity likely to accompany reopening, restaurants urgently need to reinvent their dining spaces and, from suggestions for opening up the streets to contextual mock-ups of what can be done, many examples have been offered of how to move forward. City Council took the most important step when it recently directed city staff to put in place guidelines for an initiative that will open sidewalks, parking lots and streets to restaurants, small businesses and recreational activities.

Choura began reaching out as soon as the pandemic hit restaurant owners, but her proposals were met with very little enthusiasm. That is, until he hooked up with Carl Dene, the man behind Michael’s Restaurant Group (Michael’s on Naples, Michael’s Pizzeria, Michael’s Downtown, Chianina Steakhouse).

“The whole community has been pushing for a long time to reinvent 2nd Street,” Dene said. “Slow traffic, create more intimate spaces, and Ryan presented the perfect opportunity. And not only that, he makes it affordable. He understands what we’re going through.

Rendered courtesy of Choura Events.

Parklets, while urban design gems proven to calm traffic and increase footfall, are expensive. Permits and construction are just two parts of this rising cost, but relief from regulatory issues is giving restaurants new opportunities.

“Honestly, there’s not a lot of time,” Choura said. “We need to act quickly and hopefully the city with their recent initiative will help with permits and turnaround times as parklets cost so much money for restaurants. And I know how to not only do it cheaper, but do it with a taste and feel that stays true to the restaurant I work for.

Without having to go through multiple sources and keep everything in-house, Choura can create a one-stop-shop to conceive and ultimately execute the ideas given to her.

Rendered courtesy of Choura Events.

Choura and Dene will focus on Michael’s in Naples, creating a parklet that won’t empty pockets while feeling good about the space: the K-rails, those heavy concrete protective barriers you see along the Grand Prix, will define the space while helping to keep diners safe from anything crashing down on them. Seats will remain six feet apart to respect social distancing.

In addition, the Shura warehouse could prove useful to Long Beach Public Works which, before the board voted to approve the initiative to open spaces for different uses, admitted that they were short of supplies and may not be able to accommodate all business requests.

“I would like to be a partner with the city on this,” Choura said. “I am able to build temporary installations of any size, any area. Uneven street? No problem.”

Choura went on to explain how he could assume, for example, a complete street closure and create a comprehensive experience that, even if temporary, would allow people to feel connected to their community while providing space for businesses to thrive. .