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NYC Likely to Require Outdoor Dining Sheds to Come Down ‘Post-Covid’

Plus, Chelsea Hotel restaurant El Quijote reopens — and more intel

Outdoor Restaurant Dining in New York City
Sheds like the one pictured, may no longer be allowed in New York City.
Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

New York City started plotting the future of what permanent outdoor dining structures will look like this week. On the chopping block are restaurant sheds, which could be illegal once the pandemic passes, according to Julie Schipper, director of the Department of Transportation’s Open Restaurants Program, the New York Post reports.

Under the new proposal, not all outdoor dining would be affected: umbrellas and other barrier set-ups that are not considered full, house-like structures would still be permitted. Current restaurant sheds would not be grandfathered in under the DOT’s plan, Schipper added. The city council has yet to vote on the bill, but should it pass, it is still unclear when the policy would be enforced.

In the past two years, outdoor structures helped bring new life to open restaurants and became a lifeline for many restaurateurs during COVID-19, but they’ve consistently been met with opposition. Tuesday’s news comes on the heels of the “Chuck the Sheds” rally that was held earlier this month in Downtown Manhattan.

Storied Chelsea Hotel restaurant El Quijote is back

The New York Times reports that El Quijote is reopening this week. The restaurant first opened in 1930 and closed down in 2018, in conjunction with the Chelsea Hotel’s ongoing renovations. Spanish food is still to focus at the relaunched El Quijote, now operated by Sunday Hospitality, the group behind Williamsburg restaurant Sunday in Brooklyn. The restaurant will retain many of the interior design details its come to be known for, but the formerly 220-seat venue has been reduced to a capacity of 65.

A sprawling new Caribbean market lands in Flatbush

After eight years in the works, Flatbush Central finally opened last week at 123 Caton Avenue, near Flatbush Avenue, the Commercial Observer reports. The new, 18,000-square-foot market for Caribbean food and goods — which for years had been called the Flatbush Caton Market — will be home to 28 vendors, an audio studio, and a commercial kitchen.

Mo’s Original has changed its name to.... Names

Late yesterday, Mo’s Original, the popular Prospect Lefferts Gardens restaurant, posted a cryptic Instagram story that said “86 Mo’s.” It turns out the restaurant had changed its name to, yes, Names. About three weeks ago, the restaurant received a cease and desist from Moe’s Original BBQ, a Southern restaurant chain, Mo’s Original co-owner William Garfield tells Eater. It wasn’t “financially worth fighting” for the name, he says. The menu will remain the same.