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NYC Restaurants Prepare for the End of the Vaccine Mandate

Plus, ex-Xilonen chef Yara Herrera pops up at Rolo’s in Ridgewood — and more intel

We deliver with Doordash and various Covid 19 health signs in the window of a small restaurant in Queens.
The vaccine mandate for restaurants will likely be lifted starting next Monday.
Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In the wake of NYC mayor Eric Adams’ declaration earlier this week that the city will drop its vaccine mandate for indoor dining on March 7, some restaurateurs appear to be cautiously optimistic at the idea of leaving the mandate behind.

In Hell’s Kitchen, Sullivan Street Bakery co-owner Maya Joseph tells that, just as they were happy to see the mandate put in place, they’ll be happy to see it go in order to allow for “less police work and more hospitality in the months to come.” Eric Sze of 886 in the East Village tells the New York Times that he’ll be polling staff members this week to see whether or not they want to stop checking customers’ vaccination status after the mandate is eliminated.

Adams has been adamant about the elimination of the mandate in light of declining COVID-19 case counts and high vaccination rates in the city. Other major cities in the U.S. — including Washington, D.C. and Boston — have recently rolled back their own vaccine mandates for indoor dining, although some restaurants in those areas have continued to maintain their own vaccination-only dining policies.

Ex-Xilonen chef pops up at Rolo’s

Yara Herrera, the former chef de cuisine at now-closed vegan Mexican restaurant Xilonen, is on the move. For one night only, on March 2, Herrera will be taking over the wood-fired oven at Ridgewood spot Rolo’s, according to a post on the restaurant’s website. There will be ceviche tostadas, tamales, a mezcal tasting menu, and maybe some wood-fired quesadillas.

Resy ignites a ‘reservation drive’

Reservations platform Resy — and its deep-pocketed parent company American Express — is rolling out a new promotion for March to push diners to book more reservations. Every time a million reservations are booked on the platform in the U.S. over the next month, Resy will “buy out a set of restaurants,” according to Crain’s New York, and pick up the check for everyone dining out that night. NYC is projected to have at least one buyout for every week of the promotion.

Grab a pastry box and support Ukraine relief efforts

Crowd-favorite Eastern European pop-up Dacha 46 is collaborating on a bake sale in partnership with the #CookforUkraine movement in an effort to raise $10,000 for Ukraine relief organizations. Owners and chefs Jessica and Trina Quinn organized a standout list of pastry stars, including Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman and Gramercy Tavern’s Miro Uskokovic, to contribute to a box of 12 sweet-and-savory pastries. The boxes are $103 apiece and are available for pickup on March 22 at Agi’s Counter in Crown Heights.

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