When I first visited MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village a few weeks ago it was a virtual ghost town with maybe two or three small businesses open. Fast forward to today and almost the entire block is back with the exception of some stragglers (J.G. Melon, Artichoke Pizza, by Chloe and Denino's to name a few). And once again there is electricity in the air.
Leading the way on the rebirth are places like Caffe Reggio which dates back to 1927. While it is still dark inside, outside people have been lining up for an espresso or cappucino. Yes, there were even some people seated at cafe tables placed at least 6 feet apart. Maybe Caffe Reggio survived this long because it simply refuses to give up. Next door, at Mamoun's Falafel, business was also brisk.
Let's just say New Yorkers are not quitters. In fact, more and more want their lives back, even if it means wearing a mask and keeping a distance for now. In this post we want to introduce you to other restaurants on the block and side streets that are doing the same. Places like Minetta Tavern, Da Toscano, Ben's Pizzeria, Artistic Pizza, Mighty Bowl, Playa Bowls, Nefista Vegan Kofteh, Mint Marsala, The Rice Noodle, Manousheh, Koi Thé (which looks like it's preparing to reopen), Caffe Dante and Bar Veloce (which set up a makeshift bar out front for drinks to go).
And then there is Posh Pop Bakeshop which never closed. The friendly person behind the counter telling us, "While things have been slow, it's getting better every day." We believe her. By the way, the carrot cake is amazing!!
So, while there is a risk in reopening, there may be a greater risk if you do not. A top exec at OpenTable quoted as saying 25 percent of all restaurants and bars will not survive. Yes, one in four. Here's hoping that yours does. And as the weather warms up, more of us will go out and support our friends, neighbors and local restaurants & cafes that make up the fabric of New York, ensuring the future of the city that we all love. It might be scary now, but the alternative is even scarier. Here's to MacDougal Street for leading the way!
- Thomas Rafael