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One Year Into the Pandemic, a Renewed Call for Making Takeout Cocktails Permanent

Plus, the founders of Ample Hills plot a comeback in Prospect Heights — and more intel

A restaurant staffer putting a lid on a takeout cocktail at Dante
An early version of takeout cocktails from Dante in Greenwich Village, photographed March 2020
Gary He/Eater

New York State Restaurant Association calls on elected officials to extend takeout cocktail program once more

One year after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the hospitality industry continues to grapple with takeout cocktail legislation. The state’s temporary takeout cocktail program, which allows restaurants and bars to sell wine bottles and cocktails to-go, has been extended multiple times since the start of the pandemic, while elected officials have introduced legislation to keep the law in place after the pandemic. The latest version of the law is set to expire on March 28, 2021.

Ahead of that deadline, the New York State Restaurant Association is calling on elected officials and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to extend the policy once more. “Allowing restaurants to offer alcohol for takeout and delivery has been a lifeline for many in the restaurant industry during this difficult time,” NYSRA president Melissa Fleischut said in an email to Eater. “While we hope that alcohol to-go eventually becomes permanent, an extension is our immediate priority.” Eater has reached out to the governor’s office for more information.

Cuomo’s change to the State Liquor Authority rules went into effect on March 16, 2020, when on-site food and drink sales were shut down. The program was an immediate hit among restaurant owners and the customers. In June, restaurateurs owners shared that takeout cocktails were one of several sources of income keeping their businesses afloat. The following month, a survey from the NYSRA found 86 percent of New Yorkers wanted the program to remain in place, even after the pandemic.

In other news

— Following two weeks of action over the closing of Jing Fong’s indoor dining room in Chinatown, 50 Bowery Hotel is promoting to its guests that they can order dim sum to their hotel rooms from the restaurant. The hotel is owned by Jing Fong landlord Alex Chu, who unionized employees have called on to save the restaurant.

— Tony Ortiz and Zacarías González are the latest chefs to take up residency at Winona’s in Williamsburg. Their pop-up, which runs on Sundays and Mondays for the next four weeks, will highlight Mexican and Cuban dishes beginning this weekend.

— A new Bushwick-based ice cream brand called Bad Habit is selling pints of roasted banana, olive oil, and creme brulee-flavored ice creams ($8 for a cup, $15 for a pint). Delivery is available to Lower Manhattan, Bushwick, and Williamsburg on Sundays and Mondays.

— East Village automat Brooklyn Dumpling Shop East Village inks a deal to bring five franchise locations in Connecticut, a small victory in the company’s ongoing push to open 500 locations nationwide.

— From now until May, Coney Island Brewery will donate $1 from every pint, 6-pack, and 12-pack it sells to the New York City Hospitality Alliance, a non-profit that represents thousands of restaurateurs across the city.

— After nearly a year-long break, beloved Greenpoint restaurant Bernie’s reopened for takeout and delivery on March 12. The restaurant is back at it starting on Friday.

— The founders of Ample Hills plot a comeback with a new store and focus in Prospect Heights, where the husband-and-wife team opened their first shop in 2011.

— Curbed steps inside Miami’s Little Manhattan.

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