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Everything You Need to Know About Outdoor Dining in New York

Everything You Need to Know About Outdoor Dining in New York

Here's a guide to everything you need to know about outdoor dining in NYC and the surrounding suburbs as well as some cool places (with heaters!) to eat outside.


Updated Jan. 25: Outdoor dining has become a "new normal" in NYC and despite frigid temperatures and early sunsets, New Yorkers will do whatever they can to support the restaurants they love. As we now know, being outside decreases your chances of contracting coronavirus and outdoor dining is officially permanent and a year-round luxury in NYC, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Here's everything you need to know about safely eating outdoors in New York as well as some of the coolest and most comfortable spots to do so. 

“I want us to go for the gold here,” de Blasio told WNYC host Brian Lehrer. ” I really want us to take this model and make it a part of the life of New York City for years and generations to come…I really think it’s going to help restaurants survive.”

New York restaurants are doing everything they can to keep you and your family safe and comfortable when eating outdoors, and many are even getting creative with their dining experiences. Here’s how they’ll keep you safe, what you can do to protect your family, and a list of restaurants with cool and unique outdoor dining on Long Island, in Westchester, in Rockland, and in NYC. We will continue to update this article as more information is presented to us about restaurants reopening.

How You Can Keep Your Family Safe When Eating at Restaurants

Wendy Proskin, M.D., pediatrician at Westmed Medical Center advises families to wear masks when arriving and until they are seated and bring hand sanitizer to use after sitting at the table (just in case the restaurant doesn’t provide). You might be wondering how you can wear masks while eating or drinking at the table. The answer is, as long as the tables are six feet apart (which they should be in order to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State regulations), you don’t have to worry about wearing a mask while seated at your table. If you’re walking to and from the table or walking to the restroom, definitely put your mask on. At restaurants where it’s possible, ordering ahead is encouraged in order to minimize lingering at the counter.

Also, keep in mind that this is new territory for the restaurants. The experience will likely be very different from what you and your family are used to, so be patient and understanding to restaurant staff.

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How Restaurants Are Keeping Customers Safe

As with every activity during the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC has released guidelines for restaurants to follow when reopening their dining rooms (or outdoor dining rooms, for now). Keep in mind, these guidelines are meant to supplement (not replace) any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.

  • Employees are required to wash hands before, during, and after preparing food.

  • Employees are encouraged to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues and then wash hands. 

  • Cloth face coverings are required amongst all staff.

  • Adequate hand hygiene supplies must be available, including soap, hand sanitizer (at least 60-percent alcohol) on every table, paper towels, tissues, disinfectant wipes, cloth face coverings, and no-touch or foot pedal trash cans.

  • Signs that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs should be posted in highly visible locations (entrances, restrooms).

  • Frequently touched surfaces (door handles, cash registers, workstations, sink handles, bathroom stalls) must be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

  • Layouts should change to ensure that all parties are at least 6 feet apart.

  • Seating capacity must be limited to 50 percent.

  • Restaurants should ask customers to wait in cars or away from the restaurant while they wait to be seated.

  • Physical barriers should be installed in areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart (kitchens, cash registers, host stands, food pickup areas)

  • Physical guides (tape on floors or sidewalks) must be provided to maintain 6 feet distance.

  • Employees will be screened daily via telephone or electronically for COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Bartenders and customers must maintain proper social distance. 

Meant to be followed in conjunction with CDC guidelines, New York State also released guidelines for restaurants to follow during COVID-19 which you can find here. 

Yelp business pages now include a coronavirus safety section that includes information on whether a business is enforcing social distancing, sanitizing between customers, or requires masks and temperature checks for customers, according to Business Insider. The section will include a timestamp so customers will know when the information was last updated and will rely on customer feedback for verification.

Outdoor Dining in New York City

Skip to Manhattan
Skip to Brooklyn

Skip to Queens
 

In New York City, the City Council introduced legislation that allows restaurants to utilize city streets streets, sidewalks, plazas, and other open spaces to  set up socially distant, outdoor dining rooms. Owners of restaurants adjacent to parking lots are allowed to set up tables and chairs in these lots (with permission of the landlord). Today, more than 9,900 restaurants are participating in the City's Open Restaurants program with 81 participating streets.

You can monitor which restaurants are open in your area throughout NYC by using this dashboard from the NYC Department of Transportation. You can identify which Open Streets are designated for dining by visiting the Department of Transportation's Open Streets page.

Restaurants with Cool Outdoor Setups in Manhattan

Cafe du Soleil
2723 Broadway, Upper West Side
(212) 316-500
This popular French eatery on the Upper West Side has installed what it calls “space bubbles.” (That’s a play on the restaurant’s French theme and shape of the domes). Their 18 geodesic tent structures are seven-feet tall and seat two to six diners. Enjoy an authentic French meal and a glass of wine. Dine on classic French dishes at this bistro that serves dishes like frog legs, rabbit, and fish stews.

Bryant Park Igloos
(212) 220-6209
Get the ultimate winter experience inside your own igloo at Bryant Park. These heated and transparent domes are surrounded by skyscrapers and are steps from the park’s ice-skating rink. The completely private igloos can hold up to eight guests. Choose from various food packages that offer kid-friendly fare like French fries, hot chocolate, chicken fingers, or hot dogs.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bryant Park (@bryantparknyc)

Sola Pasta Bar
330 W. Broadway, Soho
(646) 692-4131
Book a private cottage for a night out with the family. Each cottage is decked out in flowers and fire fly lamps to make you feel like you're really in Capri. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sola Pasta Bar (@solapastabar)

The Bao
13 St. Marks Place, East Village
212-388-9238
If you're craving Chinese food, this East Village spot is incredibly popular and now offers heated private bubbles for outdoor dining. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by #TheBaoNY (@thebaony)

Shuka
38 MacDougal St., Soho
212-475-7500
This popular mediterranean spot has a very warm outdoor dining setup with plastic dividers between tables and views of the Empire State Building!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Shuka (@shukanyc)

Winter Greens at Pier 17
The Rooftop at Pier 17, 89 South St., Financial District
Reserve a socially distant, cozy cabin for you and your family. Each cabin has its own speaker and 'fire place.'

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Pier 17 (@pier17ny)

Harlem Tavern
2153 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Harlem
(212) 866-4500
Harlem Tavern has you covered—literally. Dine-in one of the greenhouses at this eatery, which sits a few blocks from Central Park. Sit in a cozy dining pad and indulge in fare like chicken and waffles, fish tacos, and build-your-own mac and cheese.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Harlem Tavern (@harlemtavern)

Estancia 460
460 Greenwich St., Greenwich Village
212-431-5093
This Argentinian and Italian fine dining spot now has a heated "outdoor garden."

Jones Wood Foundry
401 E. 76th St., Upper East Side
(212) 249-2700
The winter garden and terrace are open at this food-driven pub with locally sourced ingredients. The eatery boasts a relaxed and mellow atmosphere. Warm up with the Hottie of the Week such as hot butter rum or hot chocolate.

Don Angie
103 Greenwich St., West Village
(212) 889-8884
Enjoy dinner at Don Angie, a modern Italian American dinner in the West Village. Munch on stuffed garlic bread and lasagna for two in a heated and covered setting. And if you need to go inside, they’ve upgraded their heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems to exceed requirements.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Don Angie (@donangienyc)

Clinton Hall
90 Washington St., Financial District
212-363-6000
This beer hall boasts one of the best burgers in the city and has a large, heated patio with plenty of space and even swings!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Clinton Hall (@clintonhallny)

Industry Kitchen
70 South St. at Maiden Lane, Financial District
212-487-9600
This waterfront spot offers private, heated greenhouses that are first-come, first-served.
 

Stone Street
Stone Street and Pearl Street in the Financial District
There are lots of restaurants to enjoy on Stone Street—the foot-traffic-only street in the heart of the Financial District. The cobblestone street is dedicated to outdoor dining spaces and will give you a real European-vibe, some with heated private bubbles to reserve (like Route 66 Smokehouse and The Cauldron) and others with enclosed tents. Other options on the street are: The Dubliner (bubble), Adrienne's Pizza BarUnderdog (tent), Ulysses' Folk House (bubble).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Stone Street (@stonestreetnyc)

Chelsea Market
75 9th Ave., Chelsea
Chelsea Market has 540 feet of outdoor seating for the many food vendors available there on 15th and 16th streets with heaters. 

Restaurants with Cool Outdoor Setups in Brooklyn

Ainslie
6 Ainslie Street, Williamsburg
(347) 725-3400
The beer garden and heated sidewalk café are open seven days a week at Ainslie, which is located in a former warehouse building. Stay warm courtesy of electric heaters, electric blowers, and propane heaters. The menu boasts pizzas, pastas, and salads. (Parties of eight or more dine from family-style menus for smoother service.) Their brunch menu includes 1.5 hours of unlimited brunch cocktails; think spiked iced teas, bloody marys, and mimosas with any brunch entrée. Need we say more.

The Ox Tavern
1301 Newkirk Ave., Ditmas Park
(718) 284-0005
Picnic tables beneath the tent here are separated by dividers at this community-based gastro pub. Sunday is family night at the tavern. When you order 2 entrees and 2 cocktails, one of these three kids’ items are on them—kids’ burger, chicken fingers, or fish and chips.

Otis
18 Harrison Place, Bushwick
(646) 886-0601
Sit outdoors beneath a new structure that is covered on the top, front, and back. The two sides are open for airflow, and the buildings on either side help block the wind. Enjoy delicious plates, local brews, and friendly service here.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Otis Bar & Restaurant (@otisbk)

Olmsted
659 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights
(718) 552-2610
Sit in a covered heated sidewalk table or a heated tent in the backyard at this neighborhood restaurant. Enjoy something from the Cozy Cottage menu. The menu boasts hot cocktails, pastas, fondues, and s’mores. They even provide individual warming kits, which include blankets and gloves.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Olmsted (@olmstednyc)

Aurora Brooklyn
70 Grand St., Williamsburg
718-388-5100
Aurora's covered, heated garden is a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of NYC.

Court Street Tavern
449 Court Street, Carroll Gardens
(929) 298-0321
Dine and watch TV while the kids ice skate. Yes, kids can skate! It’s on a surface made of Glice, which is impact absorbent and environmentally friendly. Sidewalk seating for outdoor dining is limited to four guests. Their winter menu focuses on cold-weather snacks and starters including warm soups, comforting bites, and their custom-blend angus beef burger.

Industry City
Industry City just opened 85,000-square-feet of outdoor dining space (the biggest in NYC) and offers food from 38 vendors.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Industry City (@industrycity)



Restaurants with Cool Outdoor Setups in Queens

The Bonnie
29-12 23rd Ave., Astoria
(718) 274-2105
The heated and open-air private garden here are open every day. Their retractable roof, side panels, and heaters offer protection from the elements while also providing constant fresh air ventilation. Enjoy upgraded burgers, mac and cheese, grilled cheese, and more. (Note that they can’t seat any group larger than four guests outdoors).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ??? ?????? (@thebonniebar)

Sweet Afton
30-09 34th St., Astoria
(718) 777-2570
This Astoria local spot serves up the best burger in the neighborhood. The garden is heated with a retractable roof for safety’s sake. Stay warm on your walk home with a spiked cider on the house. For the safety of guests, they take detailed contact information of each table of outdoor as well as indoor diners. If you go inside, a temperature check is mandatory.


Amylos Taverna
33-19 Broadway, Queens
(718) 215-0228
This Greek staple boasts a large, partially enclosed outdoor space. You’ll find electric and gas heaters under the light-adorned, plant-filled canopy. Check out the Greek-style mac and cheese and the fig salad.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Amylos Taverna (@amylos_taverna)



5 Burro Café
7205 Austin Street, Forest Hills
(718) 544-2984
This Mexican spot compares itself to Cheers—it’s a place where everybody knows your name. 5 Burros Café has installed a partially enclosed outdoor dining structure with heavy-duty heaters. Get cozy as you fill up on guac and chips, nachos, fajitas, and other Mexican favorites.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by 5 Burro Cafe (@5burrocafe)

Nowadays
56-06 Cooper Ave.,
Queens
(347) 523-8535
The backyard at this spot on the border of Bushwick and Ridgewood is open for limited capacity with plenty of COVID precautions in place. You’ll find ventilated and heated yurts for pods of six or more, fire pits for smaller parties, and tables with heating for up to 10. Outdoors is open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Nowadays (@nowadaysnyc)

The Shady Lady
3419 30th Ave., Astoria
718-440-9081
This Mediterranean tapas spot has heated "sheds" on the sidewalk."

 

Outdoor Dining in Nassau County, Long Island

The Coach Meeting House
160 Mill River Road, Oyster Bay
(516) 588-9288
You’ll find a winter wonderland here, full of trees, igloos, and fire pits. Each igloo has a fire pit outside area and space heaters. So, your igloo is heated but it’s not as warm as being indoors. (They advise that you dress for the winter weather.) Igloos fit six guests comfortably, eight cramped, and 10 max. Each igloo even includes a smart TV and Bluetooth speaker. Munch on a limited menu of apps, salads, sandwiches, soups, and other comfort foods. Just be sure to book igloo reservations at OpenTable.com.

2 Spring
2 Spring St., Oyster Bay
516-624-2411
This American restaurant has a heated patio decorated to make you feel like you're in a woodsy cabin.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by JV NEWSDAY (@jojoeatsli)

 

Cena 081 
103 Post Ave., Westbury
516-385-3795
The heated outdoor patio is the perfect place to eat calzones, faccia, and pizza in a wood-burning oven.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by CENA 081 (@cena_081)

Outdoor Dining in Suffolk County, Long Island

ITA Kitchen
45 West Main Street, Bay Shore
631-267-5916
Salvatore Sorrentino’s newest concept serves up innovative Italian American cuisine. Located in Bay Shore’s quaint village, dine in a starlit igloo or greenhouse at ITA Kitchen. Munch on dishes like upscale mac and cheese, shrimp, and chicken.

Smuggler Jack’s
157 Forest Avenue, Massapequa
516-798-6000
The menu at this casual spot on the water offers a variety of American cuisine featuring seafood, steak, and pastas. Sit in a comfy sofa in a private heated igloo lit up with pretty white lights. Whenever you pay the igloo deposit, it includes the first round of premium drinks for adults over 21.

Andrea’s 25
6300 Jericho Turnpike, Commack
631-486-7400
Come as a guest, leave as family after enjoying a meal in one of these igloos. Andrea’s 25 honors a legacy of family tradition with its innovative recipes. You’ll of course find kid-favorite meatballs here, served with a pasta of your choice.

Harbor Mist Restaurant & Catered Affairs
105 Harbor Road (25A), Cold Spring Harbor
631-659-3888
Dine in a beautiful, well-lit, heated tent that is socially distanced of course. Or, dine inside one of their igloos (which all include heaters.) Harbor Mist’s menu features variety of fresh seafood and prime meats as well as daily and weekly specials.

WAVE Restaurant at Danfords Hotel
25 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson
631-928-5200
Reserve a private igloo for your family overlooking the water! 

Outdoor Dining in Rockland County

La Terrazza
291 South Main Street, New City
845-638-0757
Enjoy a meal on the terrace or underneath the heated tent at La Terrazza. The heated tent is open on two sides. Stay warm on the terrace courtesy of heat lamps and firepits. They serve American and Italian cuisine in a casual yet elegant atmosphere. Just be sure to save room so you can indulge in their homemade gelato. It comes in flavors like pistachio, vanilla bean, cookies and cream, and chocolate chip mint.


The Place
191 South Main Street
New City, New York
845-499-2470
Get your brunch or dinner fill inside one of these pretty new igloos that even has a Bluetooth speaker. Igloos here are fully furnished and heated with seating for up to eight guests. Each private igloo even has a HEPA filter air purifier with UV light sanitizers.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by The Place (@theplacenewcity)

Valley Rock Inn
27 Mill Street, Sloatsburg
845-618-9123
Valley Rock Inn sits on a property with a dozen historic barn buildings and historic houses that form a wall around acres of gardens. Outdoor dining is offered Thursday to Sunday here. Stay warm with Southwest light, fire pits, and heat lamps at the area called the Cantina. They also have a walled garden that gets warm, but it doesn’t have a roof. (They open this space last minute for reservations. So, you can possibly sit here if you can’t book a table.)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sarah Clay (@sarahclay18)

1840 Tavern at the Clarkstown Inn
1 Strawtown Road
West Nyack, New York
845-675-8550
Dine in the spacious heated enclosed coach tent on the patio here. Outdoor dining is available daily for lunch and dinner. Enjoy salads, burgers, sandwiches, and more at an eatery that’s full of history.

Rivertown Tap House
5 Roundhouse Road, Piermont
845-848-2923
Sit in outdoors as you’re warmed by fire pits or heat lamps. Enjoy fine American dining as you sip on specialty cocktails and craft beer. Unique offerings include the BEG burger (bacon, fried egg, Gruyere on brioche) and Thai coconut cod (pan-seared cod, chili coconut sauce over basmati rice and veggies). They also offer an extensive gluten-free menu.
 

RELATED: How Child Care Centers are Keeping Kids Safe Upon Reopening

Outdoor Dining in Westchester County

Mary Ann’s
23 ½ North Main Street, Port Chester
(914) 939-8700
Enjoy generous portions of freshly prepared Mexican food at a great price at Mary Ann’s. The patio is covered and heated, making outdoor dining enjoyable all season long. (Grab one of the provided blankets if you’re still cold.) Each day, the kitchen prepares, by hand, a variety of salsas, grilled fajitas, and other Mexican favorites. They say that their margarita recipe has been attempted by many but duplicated by none. The only question is which flavor will you choose? (Peach, raspberry, strawberry, and passionfruit are just a few of the options.)

3 Westerly
3 Westerly Road, Ossining
914-762-1333
When you’re this close to the water, there is a lot to soak in. Take in a view of the scenic Hudson River waterfront from the heated outdoor patio that’s open daily (open weather permitting). The nautical-themed gastropub offers dining options like woodfire artisanal pizzas, German-style pretzels, burgers, mac n’ cheese, and more.

Tequila Sunrise
145 Larchmont Ave., Larchmont
(914) 834-6378
Enjoy authentic Mexican food in an igloo at this family-friendly spot. Completely private, each igloo holds one party of up to 6 people. They have a strict 30-minute cleaning in between each seating. So, igloos are completely disinfected before you arrive. Vents allow for fresh air to circulate. Plus, you’ll find a heater inside.

Billy & Pete’s Social
121 Myrtle Boulevard, Larchmont
(914) 909-5289
You’ll feel like you’re in a winter wonderland as you sit in a pretty igloo that includes a space heater to keep you warm. At Larchmont’s newest oldest spot, enjoy honest food and great drinks. Tempting choices include Detroit pizzas, grilled pizzas, grain bowls, salads, and more.

Tipsy Taco Bar
487 East Main Street, Mount Kisco
914-218-3460
Dine on authentic Mexican fare in an igloo near Leonard Park. A love for the surrounding land and ocean inspired the seasonal menus at Tipsy Taco Bar. You’ll find tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and other Mexican favorites.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Tipsy Taco Bar (@tipsytacobarmk)


Outdoor Dining in Bergen County

DeNovo
1257 River Road
Edgewater, New Jersey
(201) 496-6161
Stay warm in a private, heated igloo as you take in panoramic views of the George Washington Bridge and boats sailing on the Hudson River. Eight to 12 guests can dine on their Mediterranean-style Italian and French cuisine in the igloo. The menu mixes pub grub with sophisticated European fare. Enjoy house-made breads, small plates, flatbreads, salads, burgers, house-made pastas, entrées, and late-night bar bites.

It’s Greek to Me
21 East Ridgewood Ave.
Ridgewood, New Jersey
(201) 612-2600
This Greek to Me has created a socially distanced dining experience with their greenhouse dining. You’ll find eight on the streets of quaint Ridgewood. Options include Greek dishes like souvlaki or moussaka as you relax in a heated outdoor box. They’re disinfected after every use.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by New Jersey Digest (@njdigest)

The Blossom
320 Broad Avenue
Palisades Park, New Jersey
(201) 947-4588
This Asian spot has always been ahead of its time, offering igloo seating even before COVID. Igloos are located in their outdoor patio garden. Choices include udon, chicken katsu, shrimp tempura, and other Korean dishes. For dessert, kids will go crazy for their shaved snow which comes in flavors like cheesecake and sweet pumpkin.

Village Grille
71 Crescent Avenue
Waldwick, New Jersey
(201) 670-8200
The Village Grille is a casual yet upscale family-friendly restaurant. Outdoor seating is limited in their warm yet properly ventilated tent. The extensive menu serves up flatbreads, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pastas, and more.

The Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern
1 East Franklin Turnpike
Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey
(201) 445-4115
Stay nice and toasty in the large tent and patio here. You’ll find plenty of heaters to keep you comfortable ask you dine. You can order from a disposable or contactless QR code menu at this local landmark that serves progressive New American fare. And if you have to use the restroom, know that they’re all equipped with UV air purifiers.

RELATED: How Kids Can Have Safe Playdates During Coronavirus

 


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