Midtown restaurant Quality Bistro’s outdoor dining structure — once valued at over $300,000 — caught fire on Wednesday morning, damaging part of the setup and temporarily suspending outdoor dining at its parent restaurant. The fire started just after 4 a.m. and had been put out by firefighters by 4:26 a.m., according to local publication Patch. No injures have been reported at this time.
The blaze was captured in a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday morning, in which the elaborate outdoor dining structure can be seen engulfed in flames. According to a spokesperson for parent company Quality Branded, the fire only damaged part of the structure, which CEO Michael Stillman once estimated to cost between $300,000 and $400,000 to construct. Quality Bistro remains open for indoor dining but is “considering all options for our outdoor seating moving forward,” the spokesperson says.
The fire is being investigated as an act of arson “based on security footage,” according to the spokesperson, making it the latest in a string of suspected arson attempts at outdoor dining structures across the city. In July, acclaimed sommelier Caleb Ganzer was caught on camera setting fire to the outdoor setups at Lower East Side restaurant Forsythia and Nolita slice shop Prince Street Pizza. A month later, an arsonist destroyed the outdoor structure at Chelsea bistro Loulou, causing damages estimated at roughly $250,000.
16 New York Starbucks have now filed petitions to unionize
Unionization efforts at Starbucks, which started with a group of 50 employees in the Buffalo area last summer, continue to spread in New York state, according to Gothamist. Employees at the international chain have now filed petitions to unionize at 16 New York coffee shops, including at its Astor Place location in Manhattan, where one organizer tells Gothamist employees are pushing for higher starting salaries, more flexible scheduling, and other issues. So far, six Starbucks stores in New York state have voted to unionize.
Two Brooklyn restaurants are fighting to keep the doors open
Two Brooklyn restaurants have turned to GoFundMe to stay afloat after saying they were shut out from government relief. Southern Comfort, a two-year-old Bed-Stuy restaurant, has been trying to keep its “head above water,” owners Kirk and Shawanna McDonald shared in their fundraising campaign, which aims to raise $40,000 to keep the shop open. In Prospect Heights, the owners of Vietnamese restaurant Coconana are looking to raise $35,000 after opening in November. The funds will help cover rent and staff payroll, according to a GoFundMe page.
A Dominican market and deli is headed to the Lower East Side
Neighborhood blog EV Grieve steps inside El Colmado, a Dominican deli set to open later this month on the Lower East Side. The operation, from an unnamed father-son team, plans to open at 309 East Houston Street, between Clinton and Attorney streets, with standard bodega pantry items and a rotisserie chicken oven.