New York City entered Phase 2 of its re-opening on Monday June 22nd. Among other things, during this phase, restaurants are allowed to offer outdoor dining. They did not have much time to prepare – the mayor only confirmed that outdoor dining would proceed on Friday, June 19th. Restaurants wishing to participate in the program had to file an application with the Department of Transportation. Fees were waived for the application and for permits. Restaurants could apply for tables on the sidewalk, as well as tables in parking spaces on the street. Many restaurants took advantage of this program, and by mid-week, the Village looked quite different with certain areas having taken on the appearance of a block party. Readers wishing to see the full list of Village restaurants that have applied for outdoor dining licenses can check at the Department of Transportation website (note that some restaurants that have applied for outdoor seating are not open yet), but here, we are providing a partial list grouped by area. Expect more to open in the coming weeks.
Greenwich Avenue is an attractive option for outdoor dining: the sidewalks are wide, and there is less traffic than on some of the other avenues. Since a number of restaurants have opened in close proximity, there is a convivial air with street life that had been absent for months. Rahi, the well-regarded Indian restaurant has embraced outdoor dining and has set up a grill and a kulfi ice cream stand. Also on Greenwich, Fiddlesticks, which already had groups of people gathering in front for drinks, has set up tables, and Wogies, The Meatball Shop and Bluestone Lane are taking advantage of their existing outdoor terraces. Closer to 6th Avenue, Le Baratin has moved outdoors, but recently-opened American Bar is not showing any signs of life with plywood still covering the windows. The windows at Mah-Ze-Dahr are also covered with plywood, but the bakery has applied for outdoor seating and will hopefully be open again soon. Roey’s and Rosemary’s, two restaurants that used to have lively outdoor scenes, are only open for take-out so far, but sister restaurant Claudette on 5th Avenue will be open for outdoor dining soon. At Greenwich and 6th Avenue, Olio e Piú has added an additional row of tables to its already large flowery outdoor space, and all tables are separated by elegant logoed dividers.
From there, heading north on 6th Avenue, there are a number of excellent dining options: Kubeh is offering its unusual and delicious Middle Eastern fare at outdoor tables, La Contenta Oeste has opened their spacious patio, and E.A.K Ramen has set up a few tables in front of the restaurant. Just east of 6th Avenue on 10th Street, Osteria 57, the Italian pescatarian spot, has a lovely set-up with, according to our fashion editor, “hip, festive curbside dining and a hopping scene late into the evening.”
Another nice street for outdoor dining is West 4th. French wine bar St. Tropez is open and looking very French, and Café Cluny has set up tables with plexiglass partitions. Sant Ambroeus and Extra Virgin are serving customers on their outdoor patios (Extra Virgin has a petition to close the street to traffic to extend their outdoor dining on their website). The Beatrice Inn has tables in front of the restaurant continuing to the corner where Blenheim used to be (now covered in plywood). The sight of waiters in long aprons serving the diners is somewhat incongruous. Corner Bistro has tables extending down West 4th Street and Jane Street, and the night I walked by, the owners were maneuvering large planters with exuberant flowers on Jane Street to further enhance the dining experience. On the section of West 4th Street closer to 7th Avenue, Bar Sardine is open for take-out and delivery, and Gabe Stuhlman, the owner, has applied for permits for outdoor seating for it and nearby Fairfax, Joseph Leonard and Jeffrey’s Grocery, so hopefully those will be open soon. Jeffrey’s Grocery is currently operating more as a grocery and pantry.
Hudson Street is perhaps the merriest spot for outdoor dining with lots of colors, movement and even music. Cowgirl Hall of Fame is open for business in all its kitschy glory, and Filipino taqueria Flipsigi has gone all out with tables on the sidewalk, a tent in the street with rainbow banners and upbeat music playing in the background. Katana Kitten does not have outdoor seating yet, but is offering take-out cocktails and bar food. Upright Craft Beer and Cocktails is featuring a Portuguese menu in collaboration with Smorgasburg favorite Leitão. The traditional Portuguese dishes include the over-the-top Francesinha sandwich and Pasteis de Nata (custard tarts). One block west, on Greenwich Street, local favorite The Left Bank has returned with sidewalk and street seating. The restaurant’s side hustle, Poulet Sans Tete, a rotisserie chicken take-out venture kept the restaurant afloat during these past few months. Back on Hudson, Café Kitsune, ever elegant, has a number of high tops on the sidewalk, and White Horse Tavern, which already has lots of outdoor seating has added a platform on the street. Dante West Village, which had been under construction for a while, had not opened at the beginning of the week for outdoor dining, but a contributor alerted us that it did finally open on Saturday and that “it was quite a mob scene!” (The original Dante on MacDougal Street is open again with outdoor seating for Negroni fans.) Anton’s, which has one of the nicest outdoor patios in the area is also playing music, but reservations have been hard to get. Philip Marie is open for take-out and delivery, but has also set up a few chairs outside. The Bus Stop Café has always had a nice outdoor set-up which is now in full swing, and The Butcher’s Daughter and Mémé are sharing the same scaffolding but have somehow managed to make it look cheerful. Nearby, the old Mrs. Green’s space is once again showing signs of life, and according to our own WestView photographer, workmen there say the opening of Gourmet Garage in the space is now slated for October rather than August. Continuing north on Hudson, Feast on Us, usually a take-out spot, now has some outdoor tables set up.
In the Meatpacking district, Pastis is open with sidewalk seating, and Bubby’s High Line, which has been closed since mid-March is open again. One of the rare restaurants to have opened during the pandemic is Pulkies in Chelsea Market, which is run by the folks from Creamline (which is still closed). The menu features Jewish BBQ, with emphasis on turkey preparations and Jewish-style desserts. At the moment the restaurant is featuring take-out and delivery only, with a pick-up window on 16th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues.
One area that looks better than it did pre-pandemic is Christopher Street west of 7th Avenue. Northfork and Fiaschetteria Pistoia have tables outdoors, and in the middle, Red Paper Clip is offering takout and delivery, but they have applied for an outdoor seating permit so they should be joining the others soon. The building housing these restaurants is owned by Croman, and it often looked sad with its empty storefronts, but the bright colors of the outdoor dining set-up makes the whole thing look quite jolly.
Anchoring the 7th Avenue dining scene is Boucherie, which always had a lovely terrace with lots of seating, but now there are custom dividers as well between the tables similar to the ones at sister restaurant Olio e Piú. Heading north, Ofrenda and Duplex are open for business, with Duplex sporting a large Black Lives Matter banner. Agave, which closed a while ago because of a kitchen fire has re-opened and their pleasant patio is serving Mexican food, while to-go cocktails are available through a window at the front of the restaurant. Baby Brasa is open with more tables than ever, but Morandi, which usually has quite a bit of outdoor seating is still not open (although they have applied for a permit). The 7th Avenue location of Fiaschetteria Pistoia is also open but has only a few tables on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. Across from Boucherie, Bar Pisellino is open. It is such a small space that the outdoor seating was always the main focus of this Italian wine bar. Also from Rita Sodi and Jody Williams, Via Carota and Buvette (both on Grove Street) are finally open. Via Carota has added tables in the street, but still expect a long wait for dinner. Continuing west on Grove to Bedford Street, Little Owl has re-opened with outdoor seating on one of the loveliest corners of the Village. Suprema now has outside seating on Grove and 7th Avenue, and Caliente Cab Co., which has a party-like atmosphere outside is pouring margaritas and tequila shots again. Finally Rafele, always joyous, is serving its delicious Italian food under the stars.
14th Street is perhaps not as lovely as some of the other areas described above, but there are a few excellent and attractive dining options there that should not be overlooked. Chama Mama, the Georgian spot with a custom clay oven where bread dishes are baked has tables both in front of the restaurant and in a secluded backyard patio. Zu Sik is serving Korean food on the sidewalk, and La Nacional has set up a particularly inviting seating area complete with parasols in a little nook in front of the Spanish Benevolent Society. Finally, diner fans will be happy to hear that Good Stuff Diner is back serving large portions of classic coffee shop fare.
Some businesses have not survived the pandemic. Rags-A-Gogo (218 West 14th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues) is gone, and a sign in the window says: “Thank you for 30 years of Non-Essentel (sic) memories.” A reader informs us that Teich Toys (573 Hudson Street between Bank and West 11th Streets) is closing. DQ Grill & Chill (54 West 14th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues) has removed all signage, and the location is no longer listed on the Dairy Queen website. Rip’s Malt Shop, the retro plant-based comfort food spot, appears to be RIP. It was open for less than a year. We’ve heard from a number of people that Golden Rabbit, a card and stationery shop (561 Hudson Street between Perry and West 11th Streets) will close at the end of the month. They had been in that location in a Croman building for 30 years. And finally, according to a number of media outlets, Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher Street, between Seventh Avenue South and Waverly Place), which has been closed since mid-March, may not re-open. The owners, Kurt Kelly and Stacy Lentz, have started a GoFundMe campaign for the Inn which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000.
So much is happening it’s hard to keep up, so we really welcome your input. Please email us at email@example.com with any observations you’ve made, and thanks for all your help this month.