Indoor dining, as of September 30, is back in action in NYC. The past seven months have been brutal for many of us, especially in the culinary world, and this particular writer couldn’t be happier that the people who make up this business are given another chance to showcase part of why this city is so spectacular.
I was someone who was quite ignorant about just how serious COVID was way back in March (doesn’t that seem like forever ago?). It was a situation that I thought would come and go like many others to the point where I was more looking forward to working from home for a couple of weeks as opposed to how serious things became.
Reality struck big time for me when I was on my way home from my last indoor dining review at Pretty Ricky‘s in the Lower East Side. I got two back to back emails where my trips to Providence and San Francisco, the former was supposed to happen 72 hours later, were canceled. Then I realized: we will be in this for a while.
I didn’t know how long of a while this was actually going to be. The end of March was the beginning of this chaos as restaurants shut down for good minus the ones who luckily could still do takeout situations amid the sirens from the ambulances being heard practically every ten minutes around us.
The months since have not been good to the friends who work in a variety of capacities at our favorite local bar, brunch spot, restaurant, the list goes on and on. Iconic places have had to shut down permanently while others have adjusted to being al fresco only by shelving out hundreds of dollars to create an ambiance outside of their spaces to varying degrees of success.
This, of course, is frustrating to witness, because you are stuck in between a rock and a hard place with no way of getting out. On the one hand, you want anyone who dines out to be safe and not contract COVID which is why indoor dining has been put on hold for this length of time due to the myriad of risks that come along with.
Then there’s the business side of things where you so desperately want these places to return to normal so that they can turn a profit and live. I mean, we’ve only gotten one stimulus check so far which, at $1,200, doesn’t go far at all in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
You want these places we’ve loved for years to go back to full capacity where hundreds of happy customers would be elated to step inside and order a variety of apps, entrees and desserts while having a fabulous night out with their loved ones. It’s a great thought, but one that we can’t realistically enjoy at the moment.
Instead indoor dining is set at a 25 percent capacity for now with talks of it expanding before year’s end. Woohoo? Its a step, not one that I’m generally thrilled with but its something for now. This leaves the bigger picture which is something I want to stress over and over again.
Know how you are being inundated with phone calls, Facebook messages and more to vote in this election? I’m here to tell you to EAT. Eat local. Book a reservation, be as safe as possible, and tip your waitstaff with something spectacular because they are still going through it right now.
There are so many people who have abandoned NYC in favor of something else. I say to hell with you as this is still an incredible city to be in regardless of what COVID has done. And now we have the opportunity to seize the moment and rebuild ourselves from the ground up again in one of our most important industries.
We’ve done this before, and we will more than likely be here again. For the ones like me who stayed the course and to the others who plan on visiting our humble abode, do the right thing. Book. A. Reservation. ASAP. Thanks for listening to my Brad Talk.