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NYC Reopened For Indoor Dining Last Night, But Customers Didn’t Rush Back In

Plus, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is releasing a cookbook — and more intel

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Inside a restaurant with plastic barriers in between tables
Melba’s reopened for indoor dining last night with a new setup designed by the Rockwell Group
Rockwell Group [Official]

NYC reopens for indoor dining, but most diners opt to eat outside

New York City restaurants welcomed diners back for the first time in the more than six months yesterday, but as was expected, most diners did not prefer to eat inside. New York Times reporter Matthew Haag visited Jackson Heights and found a mixed bag of responses: Brazilian restaurant Aroma had a few diners inside, but at nearby Colombian restaurant Cositas Ricas, most diners preferred to eat outdoors.

Photojournalist Gary He visited Le Bernardin, the only three Michelin-starred restaurant that opened for indoor dining last night. In other parts of the city like Greenwich Village and Prospect Heights, most people preferred to eat outdoors as well with only a table or two occupied inside at places like sushi spot Japonica and Mexican restaurant El Cantinero, both on University Place.

Part of that has to do with the fact that indoor dining is limited to 25 percent in the city, and with the nice weather in the city last night, most diners would likely have preferred to eat outside regardless. Still, the response tracks with a majority of diners’ deep concerns about the safety of eating indoors, even though many restaurants have spent thousands of dollars installing upscale tech to make diners feel comfortable. Similarly in New Jersey and other parts of New York State, which have had indoor dining longer, customers have been hesitant to return inside as well.

In other news

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is coming out with a cookbook on October 13. Healthy at Last chronicles Adams’ reversal of type 2 diabetes through a plant-based diet, and comes with more than 50 recipes.

— Burger destination Harlem Shake is giving diners who register to vote at the restaurant 10 percent off their meals. The discounts runs till October 9.

— Greenwich Village Lebanese flatbread spot Manousheh is gearing up to open a second location on the Lower East Side.

— Emma’s Torch, the Carroll Gardens restaurant that has a culinary training program for refugees, is reopening this month after a six-month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant is hosting a garage sale this Sunday in anticipation of its opening.

— East Village Japanese restaurant Pado is closing after nearly two years in the neighborhood. The restaurant owners were unable to reach a favorable rent agreement with their landlord to keep going on.

— A sentiment echoed by many: