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Indoor Dining at 25 Percent Capacity Is Not Enough to Stay Alive, Some NYC Restaurateurs Say

Plus, Neir’s Tavern gets its street corner officially named after the historic establishment — and more intel

People have lunch at Chelsea Square Restaurant as New York City restaurants open for limited capacity indoor dining on October 1, 2020 in New York. Photo by BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images

Some NYC restaurants argue they should be able to open for indoor dining at 50 percent capacity

Even if NYC returns to indoor dining at 25 percent capacity this winter, some restaurant owners say the allowance is still not enough to make a meaningful impact on business during the pandemic. According to a New York Post report, some owners are aghast that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is once again considering limiting NYC to 25 percent capacity indoors while neighboring areas including Long Island can operate at 50 percent capacity indoors.

Syed Hossain, the owner of Tikka Indian Grill in Williamsburg, tells the Post that the allowance is “stupid” and the restaurant would be “losing money” at 25 percent capacity. Staten Island restaurateur Vincent Malerba added that the capacity limit was a “joke” and then speculated to the Post that maybe Cuomo hated the industry because his former girlfriend, Sandra Lee, was a celebrity chef.

NYC restaurants were previously allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity indoors last fall following an initial ban in March. A little over two months later, in December, indoor dining was banned for a second time following a rise in positive COVID-19 case counts in the city. Cuomo said on Wednesday that the state will unveil a plan detailing how NYC restaurants may return to indoor dining — at 25 percent capacity — by the end of this week.

In other news

— After overcoming a potential shutdown last year, historic 191-year-old Woodhaven spot Neir’s Tavern is getting its street corner named after the establishment. City council member Robert Holden has approved the new street name, to be called Neir’s Tavern Way, at the corner of 78th Street and 88th Avenue, in Woodhaven. The new street sign is slated to be unveiled “sometime in October” to coincide with the tavern’s 192-year anniversary, according to a restaurant spokesperson.

— The Bronx Brewery is partnering with Beer Kulture to offer a new paid internship program geared toward supporting under-represented voices and promoting diversity in craft beer. The internship includes a $2,000 stipend and two months of training in recipe development, brewery operations and management, as well as ongoing career support in the industry. Applications are open here.

— Starting Monday, Breads Bakery is taking holiday orders for Purim, according to a spokesperson for the bakery. The menu includes a core offering of sweet and savory hamantaschen, including apple, poppy, halva, chocolate, and pizza flavors, plus a rotating menu of flavors that will change on a weekly basis throughout February. Each hamantaschen is $3 for one or $25 for a dozen.

— Roving Gothamist restaurant critic Scott Lynch dives into the new ramen menu at Upper West Side staple Good Enough to Eat’s spin-off outdoor pop-up, Good Ramen To Eat.

— Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse Cote is now offering a new outdoor dining experience via Cote Cabanas, complete with tableside grilling options for some of the tasting menus, for up to six people.

— It is truly a moment of despair:

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