The New York Times reports that the opposite fates of San Francisco restaurants Cliff House and neighboring Louis’ Diner illustrate what their owners call, “the arbitrariness of the rules set off by the shutdown.”

Perched on an ocean bluff just up the street from the historic Cliff House, Louis’ diner has always taken a back seat to its neighbor. Visitors pour into Cliff House by the thousands to gawk at the views, buy trinkets at the gift shop or dine on brunch in the expansive Terrace Room. Louis’ serves up its hamburgers and fried scallops to 200 people on a good day, in a single room.

And the partial shutdown of the federal government that began Oct. 1 has affected the two businesses in very different ways. Louis’ has suddenly found itself deluged with more customers than it can handle, while Cliff House stands dark and empty down the hill. … Both Cliff House and Louis’ are privately owned, and both sit on land that has belonged to the National Park Service since 1977. Both have contracts with the Park Service and tender a percentage of their income to the federal government. But while Louis’ contract is a lease, exempting it from closing under the shutdown, Cliff House holds a concession with the Park Service, a designation that requires it to close.

Full story: “To Neighboring Restaurants, Shutdown Rules Are Nothing if Not Arbitrary

(Photos: Cliff House – Google Maps Street View. Louis’ – danmachold via Flickr)

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