Gaslamp restaurants hopeful for boost from Comic-Con Special Edition

SAN DIEGO — Visitors and locals alike filled the Gaslamp Quarter Thursday as some enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal they didn’t cook themselves while crowds begin to arrive for a special edition of Comic-Con.

Some businesses like Greystone Steakhouse are used to being ready to serve 365 days a year, a tradition that shifted in the recent past due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But much has changed in just the past year with restrictions largely lifted and diners more comfortable eating out.

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Sara Arjmand, the restaurant’s director of marketing, said planning for the Thanksgiving holiday began in September to ensure they had all the necessary ingredients.

“We’re open every holiday,” Arjmand said. “The only time we ever closed was because of the pandemic.”

It was a similar story Thursday at Saltwater where manager Giovanni Gargano said they’re trying their best and doing all they can amid nationwide staffing and food shortages.

Something that could sweeten the holiday for downtown businesses is the return of Comic-Con for the first time since 2019. The event, dubbed Comic-Con Special Edition, kicks off Friday for a three-day stay at the San Diego Convention Center.

Event organizers say the slimmed-down version of Comic-Con was driven by a desire to gather with its fans since the pandemic kept the last two versions of the event exclusively online.

“We really depend on the Convention Center,” Arjmand said, “and for the past two years, we haven’t had much because they were all canceled due to COVID.”

Comic-Con COVID guidelines: What to know about mask, vaccine requirements

The special event is expected to have lower attendance this year compared to past in-person versions, but Saltwater and others are working to make it a fun experience with special menus on tap for the weekend.

If you are attending Comic-Con, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is required. Masks will also be required indoors for everyone during the event, regardless of vaccination status.

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