The pandemic has undoubtedly shaken up business at most restaurants. Coronado’s Tent City Restaurant used this time as an opportunity to make improvements. Preston Cobb took over management of the restaurant in September with plans to revamp the long standing Coronado staple.
Preston explains that after the first wave of coronavirus, Tent City had tightened up its hours by cutting the dinner menu during the week. Now though, with an updated menu in place, brunch begins at 8 am, flowing into a 2-5 pm happy hour, and ending with dinner service. New happy hour favorites include the house made hummus, vegan street tacos, and the chef’s charcuterie board.
While tourists contribute to Tent City’s success, the restaurant focuses on locals and returning customers. Preston says that long time customers are “happy with the changes.” One menu item that customers can count on to stay is the pot pie. “The pot pie has been around for years so we wanted to keep an OG menu item that customers look forward to,” Preston assures. Of the additional menu choices, Preston explains, “people are more health conscious, many looking for more vegetarian and vegan options,” and the vegan street tacos are a prime example of this. For those that enjoy seafood, Preston suggests the grilled lobster, not only for its taste but for the price point and presentation.
The new menu also extends past the usual clientele – made in-house are Debee’s Puppy Pastries. Current flavors include banana peanut butter, bacon peanut butter, and oat milk banana honey. The organic treats can be enjoyed on the dog friendly patio or taken home (a perfect pup stocking stuffer…).
In addition to the enhanced menu, upgrades to the outdoor seating have been made to accommodate the changing dining restrictions. Preston shares, “we are lucky with a lot of outdoor seating already, and now we have added heaters and fire pits.” He adds that Tent City had offered blankets to patrons in the past to keep warm but with the new restrictions he continues to look into other options to keep guests comfortable on the patio.
“We don’t know when we will have indoor dining again so we are focusing on the experience of the outdoor dining.” Preston laughs, “I am used to turning restaurants around, but never in a pandemic!” In addition to warmth, Preston considers both the ambiance and prices a priority. Candles are added during the dinner service and they are sprucing up the decorations. Right now, the vibe is fall harvest, but winter touches will take over soon. “I want locals to feel comfortable. That they can come in here and have a good price point. They don’t need to spend an arm and a leg. It’s also important that they feel safe here and want to come in even a few times a week.”
In addition to dining at the restaurant, Tent City offers their menu on GrubHub and Door Dash.
More Changes to Come
While many changes have already been made, Preston’s vision is not complete. “We would like live music, such as an acoustic guitarist, and wine dinners with a sommelier.” Also in the long term plan is acquiring a full liquor license. There is no timeline on some of these items as Tent City is following all state and county guidelines relating to the virus restrictions. Preston encourages locals to visit and try some of the new menu items, and reminds us that, “we are all in this together, please follow the guidelines.”
Tent City has a thanksgiving dinner meal kit made for reheating. Items include:
– Lime roasted chicken
– Baked asparagus in garlic butter sauce
– Homemade mashed potatoes
– Roasted Brussel sprouts