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New Yorkers Filed Over 4,000 Complaints Related to Outdoor Dining Setups Since July

Plus, Harlem Restaurant Week is underway — and more intel

A view of Cafe Cluny’s outdoor dining tents surrounding residential buildings in the West Village on February 14, 2021 in New York City.  Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Thousands of 311 complaints have been logged in the city over outdoor dining setups since July

Outdoor dining may be here to stay in NYC permanently, but not all residents have been welcoming the structures dotting the city’s streets. The various outdoor dining setups have attracted more than 4,400 complaints via 311 in NYC since July, local news site Patch reports. According to the site, New Yorkers filed complaints for months over outdoor dining issues, including an apparent lack of ADA ramps built into roadside structures and dining areas spilling over onto sidewalk passages and into the street.

The volume of complaints skyrocketed in August, with 311 calls tallying over 1,000, according to Patch. As the weather got colder, the amount of complaints on a monthly basis tapered off, with 293 complaints filed in January.

Many restaurants at the center of 311 complaints were actually found to be operating in compliance with NYC’s outdoor dining rules, however. In fact, about 2,300 of the 311 complaints filed over outdoor dining structures were “unfounded,” Patch reports. Nearly 1,800 of the complaints centered around dining setups allegedly blocking a sidewalk zone, and more than half of the setups called out in those complaints were found to be in compliance.

Overall, the Department of Transportation has conducted nearly 40,000 inspections of outdoor dining setups and of those inspections, about 7,500 checks “uncovered a non-compliant condition,” Patch reports.

In other news

— Restaurateurs Simon Oren, David Sasson, and Gil Ohana opened Dagon on the Upper West Side this weekend along with chef and partner Ari Bokovza. The restaurant, located at 2454 Broadway, at 91st Street, features a Mediterranean menu with some Middle Eastern touches: Lebanese mushroom dumplings; duck matzo ball soup; and crispy roasted lamb with cucumber, dates, walnuts, and sumac onion. — Beth Landman contributed reporting

— A behind-the-scenes look at how co-owners Ruokun Yu and Chunmei Tong launched Yukun Shaobing in Flushing last September, and continue to keep it running successfully despite restricted operations during the pandemic.

— Lunar New Year celebrations were quieter this year in Manhattan’s Chinatown, but the neighborhood still found ways to safely usher in the new year outdoors.

— Beloved Indian restaurant Panna II has taken over Milon next door in the East Village. The expanded restaurant opened its doors this past weekend, EV Grieve reports.

— New York City restaurateurs are flocking not just to Miami, but also to Palm Springs, where they are taking advantage of warmer weather and looser operating restrictions during the pandemic.

— Meanwhile, back in NYC, some restaurateurs are snapping up rent deals that were unheard of before this past year as they push forward with mid-pandemic expansion plans.

— Harlem Restaurant Week is in full swing. The celebration lasts for two weeks, until February 28, with $25 prix-fixe menus and $10 dishes from participating restaurants including Lolo’s Seafood Shack, Ponty Bistro, Malii Thai Kitchen, and more. The full list of participating restaurants is available here.

— Leveling up: