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New Report Details the Pandemic’s Devastating Impact on NYC Restaurants

Plus, more dispatches from the city’s first days of indoor dining — and more intel

Chairs are stacked in a closed Cafe in Manhattan on March 16, 2020 in New York City.  Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

NYC’s restaurant industry has been ravaged by the pandemic, according to new state report

New York state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a new audit this week that outlines just how devastating the pandemic has been for NYC’s restaurant industry.

Over 200,000 industry jobs were initially lost in March and April when the citywide shutdown first took place, down from the 315,000 jobs that the industry provided in February. Pre-pandemic, the industry accounted for about one in 12 private sector jobs across the city.

Once the Paycheck Protection Program launched, over 10,000 restaurants applied for the federal aid and were approved. Over 50 percent of Staten Island restaurants received PPP loans, the highest rate of any borough.

Jobs have since rebounded somewhat, but the loan program has not been a silver bullet and the future for NYC’s restaurants is still bleak. As many as one-third or a half of NYC’s restaurants and bars may close in the next six months, and over a hundred thousand jobs may be lost in the same timeframe, according to “various estimates,” the audit states. The report relies on previous news reports and data from multiple sources, including Womply, a software services company that tracks credit card transactions, OpenTable, and New York’s Department of Labor.

In other news

— Astoria’s Bel Aire Diner is hosting a live concert on Saturday night in a bid to add more outdoor entertainment for customers following the sell-out success of its summer drive-in movie theater.

— Jeremy Salamon, the former executive chef at NYC spots the Eddy and Wallflower, is raising funds to open his first spot, an Eastern European and Jewish-influenced cafe and bakery called Agi’s.

— Donna Lennard, the founder and owner of NYC destination Il Buco, co-wrote a cookbook with food writer Joshua David Stein in celebration of the restaurant’s 25-year anniversary. The $40 book goes on sale October 27.

— More dispatches from NYC’s first days of indoor dining are out: Gothamist’s Scott Lynch stopped at Pastis, Pearl Diner, and Nowon, while EV Grieve popped in a slew of East Village restaurants to check out the scene.

— Ozaki beef — the premium wagyu that caught NYC diners’ attention when Don Wagyu sold it in an $185 sandwich — may be coming back to the city. Korean steakhouse Cote is considering carrying the beef, while two new restaurants in New York that will debut this fall plan to include it on the menu.

— Now that’s a mushroom: