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Long Beach offers new food options on beach and boardwalk

Visitors to Long Beach wander past a comfort

Visitors to Long Beach wander past a comfort station along the boardwalk at Edwards Boulevard in Long Beach, May 19, 2016, that will be home to the Riptides tacos and seafood concession. Credit: Johnny Milano

Waffles and ice cream will be available on the Long Beach waterfront for the first time this summer and new vendors are planned along the boardwalk under contracts approved by the city council.

Some vendors are to open Friday in newly constructed concession buildings on the boardwalk and remain through Labor Day, Sept. 5. The vendors, selling beachgoers tacos, coffee and more, were asked to be open seven days a week and close by 9 p.m., but remain open until 10 p.m. during special city events.

The city council last month also approved nine food trucks that will park adjacent to the boardwalk. Eight pushcarts will also serve food and refreshments on the beach and boardwalk.

The six new boardwalk vendors will occupy facilities along the 2.2-mile boardwalk. City officials spent $8.6 million last year to build the new concession stands, bathrooms, rest areas and outdoor showers.

Concession contracts were awarded to Beach Local Café at Grand Boulevard, Gentle Brew Coffee Roasters at National Boulevard, Riptides tacos and seafood at Edwards Boulevard, Cones and Cups at Lincoln Boulevard, Whales Tale/Lookout Deli at Pacific Boulevard and Skudin Surf Center at Riverside Boulevard. Skudin was the only nonfood vendor selected after owners submitted a business plan to sell surfboards and gear.

City Manager Jack Schnirman said the additions provide the most amenities on the beach and boardwalk in decades. Before superstorm Sandy, the city used one vendor to serve the entire beach area.

The food trucks will operate in the city’s “Shoregasboard” arena at Riverside Boulevard. It opened in 2013, one year after Sandy before the boardwalk was rebuilt. Food trucks were previously banned in Long Beach.

Pushcarts on and off the beach will offer ice cream, yogurt and waffles.

“This is the next step in improving the experience for our residents and visitors along the boardwalk by adding local flavor that provides a greater diversity of food and a fun experience,” Schnirman said.

The boardwalk’s pedestrian and bicycle paths will remain clear, officials said. Prices will be set by vendors but monitored by the city.

Businesses were selected based on proposals submitted to the council starting in January and an interview process with finalists approved by a city committee. A community survey showed residents wanted more food options on the beach and boardwalk.

Preference for vendors was given to local businesses, Schnirman said. Vendors were selected based on how much each business could pay the city, quality and diversity of products and if they could offer extended hours beyond the summer. Businesses will pay rent based on their location on the boardwalk.

The city raised beach season pass prices for the upcoming summer and raised the daily visitor rate for visitors to $15 from $12. Resident daily beach passes remained at $12.

Businesses also have the option to stay open after Labor Day when the city’s beach season officially ends. City officials are using a state grant to try to attract visitors during the spring and fall seasons by attracting vendors to offer coffee, food and hot chocolate.

“Our hope and expectation is to stay open for a much larger portion of the year,” Schnirman said.

New Long Beach boardwalk concessions:

Beach Local Café at Grand Boulevard

Gentle Brew Coffee Roasters at National Boulevard

Riptides at Edwards Boulevard

Skudin Surf Center at Riverside Boulevard

Cones and Cups on the Boardwalk at Lincoln Boulevard

Whales Tale/Lookout Deli at Pacific Boulevard

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