How 2 NYC Restaurants Pivoted to Stay Open Despite Another Lockdown

Published on January 4, 2021
Artist Bianca Romero with BLEND owner
Artist, Bianca Romero (right) BLEND owner (left)

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many restaurant business owners to get creative to keep their businesses afloat. New York is among the many states where eateries are still navigating how to attract as many customers as possible while obeying social distancing measures, while keeping them engaged. While New York (along with many cities nationwide) has had yet another major setback in terms of getting back to normal — given the recent re-closures of indoor dining. Many businesses are vigorously exploring unique ways to entice their patrons to bear the cold of the New York winter through COVID-compliant outdoor dining experiences. Some have expanded their outdoor dining with creative set-ups meant to reflect their indoor dining rooms’ aesthetic.

For example, Latin-inspired BLEND in Astoria has dedicated its efforts to curating an outdoor space that represents NYC culture by commissioning New York-born and bred mixed-media artist and muralist Bianca Romero to create a work of art that patrons can enjoy while sipping on craft cocktails.

Complete with pops of color that carry from the restaurant to the new patio setting, Romero’s artwork is just a small example of how local businesses are continuing to find creative ways to stay relevant in a difficult climate while simultaneously supporting local artists.

“Upon discovering Bianca Romero’s work, we felt that her art represented BLEND’s, which are similar to colors we carry within our restaurants. We wanted NYC culture in our installment, as seen in her various pieces of work. A slight Latin feel with hints of a pop shock effect is the intended achievement,” states Blend’s Restaurant Group Owner.

BLEND in Astoria, Queens

Many other local restaurants are dedicating their resources to partner with other local talents and artists to curate Instagram-worthy backdrops and one-of-kind experiences — all of which can be seen throughout every borough of New York.

Carbone, a popular Michelin-starred restaurant in Greenwich Village, has shelled out for an outdoor space that resembles the posh Italian-American eatery’s look inside. The restaurant has commissioned a Brooklyn-based manufacturer of modular buildings, FullStack Modular for this project.

“Lately, the company has made a series of “pandemic pivots” that also have included building isolation modules for health-care workers. Carbone is the latest example, says Full Stack Modular founder Roger Krulak when interviewed by the New York Post.

Artist Bianca Romero (above)

As we enter the final stretch of 2020, many have taken a moment to reflect on this year and the challenges that we as a nation have overcome. Through this reflection, the biggest takeaway that many have come to find is just how resilient business owners are. There has been a newfound appreciation for how restaurants, and other brick and mortar businesses, have gone through extraordinary measures to make patrons feel comfortable while trying to find a sense of normalcy, once more.

Madeline Familia is a Puerto Rican-Dominican Bronx native who writes about entrepreneurship, leadership, pop culture, politics, and social issues. Familia is also the CEO and Founder of New York City-based marketing communications firm, Creative Voices PR. With years of diverse experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors, Madeline has helped provide brands with the necessary tools to succeed. Before launching Creative Voices PR, Madeline worked with leading lifestyle brands. Madeline's passion lies in creating marketing campaigns that challenge industry norms by helping brands find their unique and creative narratives that, in turn, will help them break through the "noise" and reach their target audiences.

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