NEW YORK – Two Greek-owned restaurants, Nerai and Carnegie Diner & Café, were among those featured in the New York Post concerning a possible shut down of indoor dining if hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to rise in New York. A shut down of indoor dining, already limited as it is, could be dire for restaurants lacking outdoor dining areas for their customers.
“Restaurants blessed with a rooftop, backyard, sidewalk or street not blocked off by a fire hydrant, however, are spending big to remake their outdoor dining spaces into cozy winter getaways,” the Post reported.
“If the city closes indoor dining, this is the only way we will be able to survive the winter,”
Nerai owner Spiro Menegatos told the Post.
Menegatos “has spent $120,000 winterizing his garden area so that people will continue to dine” throughout the winter months at Nerai, the upscale Greek eatery located in Midtown, the Post reported.
“We thought maybe we’d get lucky and have a mild winter, but we had some cold days in November and we knew we’d have to do something,” Menegatos told the Post, “If the city closes indoor dining, this is the only way we will be able to survive the winter. Deliveries aren’t even close to viable.”
“Winterizing the 1,000-square-foot garden with its 45 seats required building a large wooden pergola with three sides and plexiglass windows that open,” the Post reported, adding that “Menegatos also had to spend on electricians and heaters to keep the space lighted and warm, as well as new outdoor furniture and winter landscaping since the summer flowers had died.”
“We wanted to create a beautiful space. People don’t want to dine in a subpar space. They want to go out for dinner and not feel like they are on the street, with trucks driving by,” Menegatos told the Post.
“Even with small budgets, eateries like Carnegie Diner & Cafe in Midtown can create an outdoor holiday wonderland,” the Post reported, noting that “Stathis Antonakopoulos tells Side Dish he spent around $6,000 decorating Carnegie Diner’s outdoor space, which fits 20 socially distant tables that seat 40 people.”
Antonakopoulos purchased a tent, heaters, and Christmas-themed inflatables for the eatery, according to the Post.
“We have delayed winterizing our outdoor space as we try to find out whether or not the city will close us down. For now we are in limbo,” Antonakopoulos told the Post.