AGOURA HILLS, Calif. — Cronies Sports Grill in Agoura Hills remains open for outdoor dining and is bustling, despite receiving four citations from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health since December 2.
“We’re still in trouble, but they’ve given us some time,” said Cronies co-owner Dave Rea. “We’re in the middle of our due process, so to speak. And all of the county agencies are still watching us, but nothing’s been decided — yet.”
Cronies is one of four restaurants that has been cited by DPH for failing to comply with county health orders since the latest ban came into effect on November 25. The ban has since been supplanted by a Southern California regional stay-at-home order from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office.
On Thursday, Cronies management participated in a phone hearing with LACDPH. That hearing, Rea explained, was continued until the week of December 14.
In a statement released earlier this week, Agoura Hills city manager Nathan Hamburger addressed Cronies without naming the business and promised concerned residents that there would be “long-term and severe consequences for their Health Code violations.” Those consequences, he added, may include legal fees, suspended county and city permits, and possible state impacts to alcohol licenses for all five Cronies restaurants.
“We are disappointed in the actions taken by this business, since encouraging people from outside the area to come into our community to protest the health order and not wear masks, in our view, shows a dangerous disregard for the well-being of others in Agoura Hills in light of the pandemic,” Hamburger said.
In the meantime, Cronies Agoura Hills continues to operate outdoor dining service. And business is good, according to Rea. The restaurant has been consistently full throughout the day, and lines have been consistent.
Four other Cronies restaurants, located in Ventura County, continue to serve — but only for take-out. Ventura County is also under the jurisdiction of the regional stay-at-home order, so its restaurants would be under the same restrictions as those in L.A. County.
When asked why the Agoura Hills location was the only one to remain open, Rea responded that “it would be a nightmare if we also did those. To make it a little more manageable, we decided that one of our restaurants would speak for all.”
Rea noted that he believes Cronies speaks for more than just his restaurant chain.
“We don’t fault anybody for closing, or anybody else for trying to stay open,” Rea said. “If we can make enough noise and push back enough and get some of these things overturned, and it helps them out, I’ll be so happy.”