‘They don’t want to sit inside’: NYC restaurants prepare for a winter serving outdoors

Local News

NEW YORK — Despite the cold weather, many restaurateurs around the five boroughs are gearing up for a busy season of dining al fresco.

On the Upper East Side Tuesday afternoon, John Hayes was putting the finishing touches on his outdoor beer garden at Doc Watson’s.

“Everywhere is heated, ventilated. We’ve done as much as we can really,” Hayes said.

Improving his outdoor spaces has set Hayes back around $100,000, but he said it’s a price he’s willing to pay to keep customers content.

“We put a new cover over it, snow proof, ventilation, heaters,” said Hayes. “Everyday is a new day but whoever’s around, stop by; we welcome everybody.”

As the second winter of expanded outdoor dining in New York City begins, the restaurant industry faces several challenges.

For starters, a citywide propane heaters ban means limited warming options. Plus, a potential surge in COVID cases amid the holiday season and the new omicron variant.

Although diners are allowed to eat indoors with a proof of vaccination, the outdoors could become a popular alternative because ventilation may be better.

Renovations at the Blue Mezze Bar’s so-called “streeterie” are underway. The space accommodates a limited number of people, which means business owner Suleyman Secer may take yet another financial hit.

“We don’t have too much space so we’re losing the inside. They don’t want to sit inside, so we lose business,” Secer said.

The New York City Hospitality Alliance said many restaurant owners still have debt since the federal government has not replenished the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and the cost of goods are through the roof.

Executive Director Andrew Rigie released a statement which said, in part, “Government policies are desperately needed to support the industry and the city’s restaurants and bars need New Yorkers and visitors to go eat, drink, and celebrate.”

As for the holidays, restaurant owners who spoke with PIX11 News said they can’t make Christmas or New Year’s Eve party plans because they’re waiting to see if Mayor Bill de Blasio will issue any more mandates or regulations.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Connect with PIX11 Online

Connect with PIX11 Online

Trending Stories

Global Coronavirus Tracker

Follow us on Facebook

Don't Miss

@PIX11News on Twitter