CORONA DEL MAR — After she lugged six teenagers, folding chairs and a pink zebra-print bag full of blankets from San Dimas to Corona del Mar, all Julie Riccardo wanted was a cool iced tea.
"I'm thirsty, and there's nothing to drink," Riccardo, 53, lamented Friday next to the shuttered snack bar at Corona del Mar State Beach.
Its windows and counter caked with dust, the stand has sat vacant for years. In 2005, the city spent millions on a new building and other beach amenities, but officials have been unable to land a successful tenant.
A longtime burgers-and-fries operator was rebuffed, and dreams of a sit-down restaurant serving locals flopped. Now, with the latest round of concessionaire proposals submitted Thursday, people are hoping again the city will find a realistic restaurant.
"It was worth giving it a try, to see if something different could work there," said Newport Beach Mayor Nancy Gardner, who represents the area. "But we have to just understand that that the big market there is not going to be locals; it's going to be tourists."