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The City’s Outdoor Dining Boom Has Left Some Neighborhoods Behind

Plus, the historic Pete’s Tavern appears to be on its way to reopening — and more intel

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The exterior of a restaurant with tents seat up for outdoor seating
Outdoor dining continues to expand in NYC but not everywhere.
Daniel Moritz-Rabson/Eater

Some NYC neighborhoods have been left out of the city’s outdoor dining boom

Al fresco dining blew up in the past year as New York City eased restrictions on outdoor dining with initiatives like Open Restaurants and takeout cocktails, which aimed to make it easier for the city’s restaurants to stay in business. But a recent report from Gothamist shows that not all neighborhoods across the five boroughs have benefited equally from the relaxed regulations.

The city claims that over 11,000 restaurants have participated in the Open Restaurants initiative since, but Gothamist noted that in one Jamaica, Queens district, for example, there were only 61 new outdoor dining setups. There are five districts in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn, and one in Astoria, with more than 400 new outdoor dining setups each, according to the report. There are 815 Open Restaurants participants in a district encompassing the East Village and Lower East Side.

“I think what we’re trying to address first is just how inequitable the previous situation was,” Eric Beaton, deputy commissioner of the Department of Transportation, which oversees the program, tells Gothamist. Despite fewer hurdles, some residents such as Reverend Bruce Rivera, the Community Board 3 chair in the Bronx, says struggling businesses need more financial support — including interest-free loans or grants — to even build their outdoor dining setups.

In other news

— A shortage of workers, food supply issues, and surging cases of the delta variant, among other factors, are adding up to create a big challenge for NYC restaurants trying to make a comeback, the New York Times reports.

— Tilit, the local maker of popular chef’s coats and aprons, is holding a sample sale today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at its Lower East Side headquarters, at 64 Allen Street. Only 25 shoppers are allowed in at a time and reservations are being taken. Shoppers can get a $10 discount for trading in old white coats or light-colored aprons.

— Shake Shack is collaborating with restaurateur Pinky Cole’s Slutty Vegan, a non-meat burger chain in Atlanta, on August 11 in Harlem, at 1 West 125th Street. On the menu is the SluttyShack, a veggie patty which includes lemon ginger kale and vegan ranch dressing.

— With the U.S. Open just a few weeks ago, the tennis tournament’s Citi Taste of Tennis event debuts this year with a roving food truck. Between August 11 to 25, chefs including Fany Gerson (La Newyorkina) and John Doherty (Black Barn) will serve free food for an hour from different neighborhoods.

— Starting today, customers who show proof of vaccination can get a free order of cacio e pepe pasta to-go at Sola Pasta Bar and Call Me Pasta.

— It appears Pete’s Tavern, one of the city’s oldest establishment, is gearing up to reopen since shutting down in March 2020 with the restaurant building outdoor dining spaces and posting help-wanted signs, EV Grieve reports.

— The nearly three-decades old bar Mugs Ale House in Williamsburg closed in June 2019 but it will now reopen as Megs Ale House, according to Brooklyn Paper.

— A new week, a new bar to check out:

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