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Early Bird Dining Is the New Primetime and NYC Restaurants Aren’t Happy About It

Plus, Bronx street vendors march for relief from city fines — and more intel

Customers have brunch at non-socially- distanced tables at Baby Brasa’s outdoor dining on May 22, 2021 in New York City. 
Baby Brasa in the West Village
Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Early bird diners causing headaches for NYC restaurants

Curfews and capacity restrictions may be lifted, but New Yorkers appear to be holding onto some pandemic-era dining routines — including dining earlier. The New York Post reports that restaurants including neighborhood diner Tribeca’s Kitchen and West Village spot Little Owl are seeing an influx of customers eating dinner at early bird hours, from 5 to 7 p.m. Previously, restaurants could expect to see multiple waves of customers, from early bird diners to the 8 p.m. eaters, and then the late-night crowd. Now, everybody’s eating early, lingering longer, and then clearing out by about 9 p.m., owners say.

The restaurateurs speculate that with working from home still going strong, diners are able and eager to arrange earlier dinner times. One diner tells the Post that it would have been “impossible” to coordinate schedules for dinner at 5 or 6 p.m. prior to the pandemic. However, the owners expect that dining times will again shift back to later hours after more offices are expected to open up at a wider scale in September.

In other news

— Daughter in Brooklyn is hosting a pop-up with chef Alix Ferguson and micro bakery and ice cream shop Cold Moon this Saturday, July 17, from 12 to 8 p.m. Dishes include shrimp and wagyu steak skewers and s’mores and strawberry ice cream sandwiches.

— Writer Joshua David Stein sits down with director Morgan Neville to discuss the making of Anthony Bourdain documentary Roadrunner.

— Texas Monthly has an inside look on how Brooklyn Kolache owner Autumn Stanford sold the city on the pillowy Czech-Tex baked treats.

New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells visits renowned Tokyo chef Yoshiteru Ikegawa’s NYC restaurant Torien and finds “new and unsuspected pleasures” in the roughly 15-course, $150 skewer menu.

— Bronx street vendors are planning a rally and march on Thursday, July 15, to call for relief from hefty fines levied on unpermitted street vendors. The rally starts at 11 a.m. in the Bronx and will also be livestreamed on nonprofit Street Vendor Project’s Facebook page.

— How about both: