Restaurants embrace creativity while complying with COVID-19 dining restrictions


Jim Henderson | Wikimedia Commons

Sushobhan Parajuli

The sidewalks of New York City have become lively with the presence of diners, even in the cold days of winter. Restaurants have continued to cater to the public through outer dining,while also maintaining social distancing rules established due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There have been more than 10,000 restaurants in New York City enrolled in the outdoor dining program, Open Restaurants, according to The New York Times.

Though this program provides restaurants with a means of keeping customers and gaining profit, the real allure comes from the creativity put into these outdoor dining arrangements.

It is the season of Yurt, reported The New York Times.

Two downtown restaurants, Fairfax and Crown Sky, and Lilia in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, have been among the 13 sites that are part of The Yurt Villages.

The Yurt Villages is a program introduced by American Express Co., exclusively for American Express Card Members, along with Resy, a privately held reservation service.

Fairfax has decorated its yurts with bold buffalo plaid tablecloths, antique textiles, vintage lighting and quirky accessories, according to Town & Country Magazine.

Another restaurant, Crown Sky, demonstrates its own creativity.

“The tent poles of the yurt are painted black to resemble steel beams and the blond wood tables are topped with leather pads and geometric placements,” the magazine described.

The Italian restaurant Lilia has its yurts covered in undyed fabric and connected by wooden walkways and the dining chairs draped with slate-grey fleece blankets, The New York Times reported

The green lawns at Pier 17, known as The Greens, have been transformed into tiny cabins for the winter, according to Time Out. 28 individual dining cabins are served by the on-site rooftop restaurant, R17, and the cocktails have been created by Dante, an award-winning bar located at Greenwich Village.

These cabins offer contactless ordering, winter decor, spacious banquette seating, a virtual fireplace and heaters.

Lafayette Grand Cafe and Bakery, located in the NoHo neighborhood in Manhattan, created Le Village de Lafayette with an installation of private heated chalets made from steel frame structures and polycarbonate window panels.

“We wanted to create a winter pop up experience reminiscent of chalets in the French Alps,” Luke Ostrom, the designer behind the outdoor setup, said.

Outdoor dining has definitely bred creativity, giving restaurant owners and workers options to stay open and make a profit.