In another case of restaurants transforming into drive-ins amid the COVID-19 shutdown, Staten Island barbecue joint Juicy Lucy is converting into a drive-in theater this summer in a bid to drum up business and provide entertainment to the neighborhood, SILive.com reports. The restaurant will start screening movies from its three-acre lot on June 12.
Juicy Lucy will be serving its full menu of hamburgers, brisket, and ribs to drive-in customers this summer, owner Richie Holmes says. Tickets for entry are $25 per vehicle, and there is no minimum food order. The first movie screening will be Star Wars: A New Hope.
Outfitting the lot as a drive-in theater has been “a pretty big undertaking,” Holmes tells SILive.com. “I came up with the idea on April 1 thinking of the worst case scenario.” Juicy Lucy had previously shut down on March 16 due to COVID-19, after having just opened in July 2019.
In a similar move earlier this month, 55-year-old Bel Aire Diner in Astoria announced that it had launched its own drive-in theater in the restaurant’s parking lot — and tickets for each movie have been selling out in minutes.
For restaurants that are struggling to stay alive while dining rooms remain closed — and have the space to spare — the drive-in theaters offer one way to keep the business going in the warmer summer months.
Outdoor dining in general has been a hot-button issue in the past few weeks as New Yorkers are spending more and more time outside. Restaurateurs and local city legislators have argued that expanding outdoor dining rules on city streets to allow for restaurants and bars to serve diners outside will provide a much-needed lifeline to suffering businesses. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that the idea is a “very encouraging possibility,” but has yet to put forth a definite plan on the matter.
Meanwhile, restaurants and bars have been contending with growing throngs of New Yorkers spending more time outside, potentially breaking social distancing rules, while de Blasio ups enforcement measures on the city’s current takeout and delivery-only rules.