Gaslamp restaurants are ready to welcome the crowds attending the conference

SAN DIEGO – Visitors and locals alike filled the Gaslamp neighborhood Thursday as some enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal they didn’t cook themselves as crowds began arriving for a special edition of Comic-Con.

Some companies like Greystone Steakhouse used to prepare for service 365 days a year, a tradition that has shifted in the recent past due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But much has changed in the past year only with restrictions being largely lifted and diners more comfortable eating out.

Sarah Arjmand, the restaurant’s marketing manager, said Thanksgiving holiday planning began in September to ensure they had all the necessary ingredients.

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

It was a similar story Thursday in Salt Water where manager Giovanni Gargano said they were doing their best and doing their best amid staff shortages across the country and food shortages.

Something that could spell the holiday for downtown businesses is Comic-Con’s return for the first time since 2019. The event, called Comic-Con Special Edition, kicks off Friday for three days at the San Diego Convention Center.

The event’s organizers say the watered-down version of Comic-Con has been driven by a desire to meet with its fans since the pandemic has kept the last two editions of the event online exclusively.

“We are really dependent on the convention center, and over the past two years we haven’t had much because they have all canceled because of COVID,” Arjmand said.

This special event is expected to see fewer attendees this year than previous in-person editions, but Saltwater and others are working to make it a fun experience with special menus available every weekend.

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

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