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NYC Restaurants and Bars Can Officially Sell Takeout Cocktails Again

Plus, one of New Jersey’s best pizzerias is expanding — and more intel

Two colorful takeout cocktails are placed on a granite countertop with sealed lids and plastic straws.
Takeout cocktails are back, baby.
Matthew J. Lee/Getty Images

New York restaurants and bars can once again sell cocktails for takeout. The popular program, which started as a temporary emergency measure following the state shutdown of restaurants and bars in 2020, passed on Thursday afternoon as part of the state budget, according to Crain’s New York Business.

The program isn’t the permanent takeout cocktail legislation Gov. Kathy Hochul was originally campaigning for — it expires after three years, and includes a few notable concessions — but it’s still a massive win for food businesses across the state. Under the new legislation, customers will have to order a “substantial food item” with their drinks, and takeout beverages must be priced the same as if they were served to a seated customer, according to Crain’s. Bottles of liquor and wine, an additional source of revenue for many businesses during the pandemic, can no longer be sold for takeout or delivery under the new legislation.

Restaurant owners and local officials have been calling for the return of takeout cocktails since last June, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo ended the popular program with roughly 24-hours notice. Elected officials previously introduced legislation to make the temporary coronavirus measure a permanent part of New York dining, but the law was not passed before the end of the 2021 legislation session.

Cool restaurant names, explained

What makes a restaurant name cool? Bon Appétit tried to answer that question this week in a free-wheeling survey of restaurant names across the country. Businesses named after women — by men — are apparently still in, as are those that play on levity and the absurd: Le Crocodile in Williamsburg, Here’s Looking at You in Los Angeles, and All Together Now! in Chicago. At least in New York City, names have been leaning heavily on nostalgia: Restaurants like Patti Ann’s, Ernesto’s, Bonnie’s, and Mel’s have been popping up left and right, nodding to the “possessive first name spots” that pervaded the industry years earlier.

One of New Jersey’s best pizzerias expands

Razza, a New Jersey pizzeria home to some of New York’s best pizza, reopened for indoor dining last month for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The decade-old pizzeria, located at 275 Grove Street, near Montgomery Street, in Jersey City, has taken over a next-door space that doubled the size of its dining room from 40 to 80 seats. The expansion also includes a new temperature-controlled dough room, according to owner Dan Richer, who formerly mixed and fermented his dough near the pizzeria’s wood-fired oven. It was “not ideal,” he says.

Howard Hughes invests in Jean-Georges Restaurants

Real estate titan Howard Hughes Corporation is throwing $55 million behind Jean-Georges Vongerichten to help the restaurateur expand his global empire of food businesses “to communities within the Hughes portfolio,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Hughes and Jean-Georges Restaurants have worked together for the last five years on the group’s redevelopment of the Seaport in Lower Manhattan, where Vongerichten operates upscale seafood restaurant the Fulton, and has been planning to open a food hall for years.