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East Village Restaurateurs Scramble to Keep Up With Revised Outdoor Dining Guidelines

Plus, historic delicatessen Katz’s is now offering outdoor dining, a first for the 132-year restaurant — and more intel

Several tables and chairs sit on in the bike lane of a street during NYC’s outdoor dining
Kindred’s outdoor dining on June 26, before new guidelines forced the restaurant to change its setup
Archer Lewis/Kindred

East Village restaurant owners decry new outdoor dining guidelines

East Village restaurants and bars appear to have been hard-hit by the Department of Transportation’s revised rules around outdoor dining, local publication EV Grieve reports.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, local restaurateur Mosche Schulman reported that city officials were roaming the East Village and issuing warnings to businesses about their outdoor seating set-ups. Kindred, which Schulman co-owns, received a warning from the transportation department via email stating that the restaurant’s outdoor dining area violated new rules and would need to be corrected in 24 hours. Other restaurants in the neighborhood — including Il Posto Accanto, C and B cafe, Porsena, and the Roost — have also been issued warnings.

Earlier this week, New York Times critic Pete Wells documented a growing sense of panic among NYC restaurant and bar owners — some of who say they invested thousands of dollars into their outdoor dining set-ups, only to be issued 24-hour notices from the transportation department to change the setups. The warnings followed new guidelines from the DOT, specifying that barriers separating diners from street traffic needed to be at least 18 inches thick. Some restaurants were issued cease-and-desist orders over the weekend, Wells writes, while others were threatened with losing their outdoor dining permits permanently, the one lifeline many restaurateurs have right now.

In other news

— Tribeca Korean restaurant Jungsik has announced plans for a second restaurant to open next year at 151 West 30th Street, near Seventh Avenue. Until then, the owners will be selling menu items from Jungsik for takeout and delivery, like beef broth with brisket and offal over noodles.

— New York-based mochi ice cream company Mochidoki has reopened in Soho, according to a spokesperson for the company. For its return, the company has brought on chef Natsume Aoi, formerly of Morimoto and Jean Georges’ Mercato in Shanghai, to develop new seasonal flavors.

— Mike’s Hot Honey is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this summer. To honor the occasion, owner Mike Kurtz, formerly of Paulie Gee’s pizza, will be selling an extra hot version of his honey starting on Tuesday, July 14.

— A group of restaurateurs in Jackson Heights, called the 37th Avenue Sidewalk Cafe Coalition, have created a petition calling for the city to establish a permanent outdoor dining area along the avenue.

— Brothers Atin and Aankit Malholtra say that their restaurant Benares has seen a boost in business during the pandemic due to international orders, mostly from parents ordering deliveries for their children who study in the city.

— Playground Coffee Shop in Bed-Stuy has set-up “community fridges” in nearby neighborhoods, which residents can donate to or withdraw fresh produce from for free.

— Katz’s Delicatessen has opened for outdoor seating, according to a spokesperson for the restaurant, a first for the 132-year-old pastrami master.

— ’Tis the season: