One of the most impressive things I witnessed during my recent NYC getaway was the creativity of restaurateurs trying to stay in business. With regulations changing more frequently than prepubescent boys change their undergarments, it’s a marvel to see the careful attention hospitality professionals are paying to mandates and directives.
It seems impossible to keep up with ever changing rules, limited product, and difficulties simply remaining afloat when capacity has been decreased by 75%. Once marginal profits have disappeared completely. The situation is beyond bleak and I don’t know how restaurants can be expected to survive without immediate and substantial assistance from the government. And I don’t mean loans either.
Being innovative when it comes to providing diners with what they desire, while meeting multiple layers of regulation, has prompted some remarkable inventiveness, particularly when it comes to creating inviting outdoor seating. Offering al fresco dining in July is one thing, but providing a tolerable situation for table service in winter is a whole ‘nother level of hospitality.
I’ve included a few of my favorite spots for an outdoor meal or drink/snack combo. We didn’t necessarily frequent all of the “dining rooms” pictured, but these each caught my eye. I’m a little discriminating about which I might choose to sit in, with some feeling too “in” for my comfort. I don’t want plastic walls around me, preferring heat and air flow. Wear layers. Have something, or someone, to wrap around you. Drink red wine.
And tip well.