NYC restaurants get creative with their outdoor dining spaces

Loi
Photo credit Juliet Papa

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Some restaurants in New York City are making the best of the outdoor dining-only restriction by getting creative with their spaces. 

From palm trees and festive canopies to artificial grass, picket fences and floral arrangements, restaurateurs across the five boroughs have worked hard to adapt their outdoor spaces to create atmosphere and ambience for their patrons. 

Chef and restaurateur Maria Loi, for one, has managed to keep her Greek restaurant Loi Estiatorio, on West 58th Street in Midtown Manhattan, open since the COVID-19 pandemic began, cooking takeout for locals, offering meals to the homeless and delivering breakfasts, lunches and dinners to frontline hospital workers. 

When the city said it would start allowing outdoor dining, Loi knew she wanted to create a safe, socially-distanced “oasis” for the neighborhood. So with the help of her neighbors, she painted wooden barriers, set up bright blue canopies and planted red geraniums, she said. 

Singer Tony Bennett, who lives nearby, has been enjoying eating food from Loi Estiatorio during the pandemic, she said. (The meatballs are his favorite.)

“It’s a huge compliment,” Loi said. “It’s not only because he’s Tony Bennett, you know, Tony Bennett is Tony Bennett, but yeah, it was something big for me.” 

Loi

Loi has been able to keep her restaurant going thanks to donations, the ability to offer outdoor dining, and a Greek concept known as “Philotimo.” 

“To do more for others than you do for yourself,” she explained. 

Here are a few other restaurants that have gotten creative with their outdoor spaces: 

Pazza Notte at 1375 6th Avenue in Manhattan: 

Pazza Notte

Premium Japanese Rolls at 1371 6th Avenue in Manhattan

Premium Japanese Rolls
Premium Japanese Rolls