Have You Eaten Yet?

Dining out in NYC during COVID + Outdoor Heater Shortage

October 17, 2020 Kassata Bollman Episode 2
Have You Eaten Yet?
Dining out in NYC during COVID + Outdoor Heater Shortage
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

After heading to a few restaurants in New York City...we'll discuss that it's like to dine out during COVID & what the city feels like these days.

First it was toilet paper, then sanitizer and now it's outdoor heaters that you can't get your hands on.    

There's a restaurant act floating around Washington...we'll discuss what type of relief this grant could provide.



[[MUSIC]]

WELCOME! 

I’M KASSATA BOLLMAN. TODAY WE’VE GOT MY HUSBAND SCOTT…. BACK WITH US….SO I’LL START BY ASKING “HAVE YOU EATEN YET?

DINING OUT IN NYC:

WE RECENTLY DINED OUT IN NEW YORK CITY AND WANTED TO REPORT BACK ON WHAT IT FELT LIKE.…..SO THE FIRST HALF OF THIS EPISODE WILL TAKE YOU ON A JOURNEY TO DINING IN NEW YORK CITY DURING COVID…...


CURRENTLY YOU CAN EAT INSIDE….NYC RESTAURANTS ARE AT 25% CAPACITY….ALTHOUGH AT THIS POINT IT SEEMS LIKE THE MAJORITY OF THEM ARE STICKING TO OUTDOOR SEATING ONLY…..FOR MANY OF THEM IT’S A COST ISSUE...ONE OF THE MAJOR COSTS IS IF YOU HAVE AN HVAC SYSTEM YOU HAVE TO SPEND A DECENT AMOUNT OF MONEY TO INSTALL SPECIFIC AIR FILTERS…..WITH NYC ANNOUNCING THAT PARKLETTS CAN STAY UP PERMANENTLY... 

AT LEAST FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE…. I NOTICED A LOT OF RESTAURANTS BUILDING OUT MORE PERMANENT STRUCTURES THAT CAN WITHSTAND WINTER WEATHER……….. 

CHINATOWN WAS BUZZING & ALIVE…..WHICH MADE ME REALLY HAPPY…..BECAUSE AT THE START OF COVID SO MANY PEOPLE WERE SCARED OF GOING THERE…..


FIRST WE STOPPED BY RUBIROSA ON MULBERRY STREET AND HAD A PIZZA & NEGRONI….THEY WERE ONLY SEATING WALK-INS ON THEIR COVERED PARKLETT….WHICH WAS SMALL...3 TWO TOPS WITH PLASTIC DIVIDERS IN BETWEEN TABLES….NOT ACCEPTING RESERVATIONS...A PARTY OF 4 CAME IN AT ONE POINT AND THE HOSTESS SHOWED THEM HOW SHE COULD ACCOMODATE ON THE SIDE OF THE PARKLETT AND THE WOMAN SAID “NEXT TO THE TRASH CAN?”....BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? THEY TOOK THE TABLE….THERE WERE QR CODES ON THE TABLE THAT YOU SCANNED WITH YOUR PHONE’S CAMERA….AND THE MENU POPPED UP ON YOUR INTERNET BROWSER….YOU ORDERED & PAID ONLINE & THEY BROUGHT OUT EVERYTHING TAKEOUT STYLE…..


I WENT INSIDE TO USE THE RESTROOM AND THEY WERE SETUP FOR INDOOR DINING….PLASTIC DIVIDERS WERE IN BETWEEN CERTAIN TABLES AND SOCIAL DISTANCING STICKERS WERE ON THE FLOOR…..SO MAYBE DEPENDING ON THE DAY OR TIME THEY  DO OFFER INDOOR DINING OR MAYBE THEY’RE JUST PREPARING TO REOPEN INDOORS SOON…..


FOR DINNER WE MADE RESERVATIONS AT THE MUSKET ROOM.…. IT’S BASED ON CHEF MATT LAMBERT’S MODERN TAKE ON HOMESTYLE NEW ZEALAND COOKING…LAMBERT LEFT BACK IN 2019 BUT THEY’RE CONTINUING WITH HIS VISION……..

THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME FOR US THAT UPON ENTERING A RESTAURANT THEY TOOK OUR TEMPERATURE…

WE WERE THE FIRST CUSTOMERS TO ARRIVE….AND DECIDED TO DINE IN THEIR BACKYARD GARDEN. 

AGAIN, QR CODES ON THE TABLE FOR MENUS. UV HEATERS WERE IN THE UMBRELLA THAT WE WERE SITTING UNDER TO KEEP US WARM.

OUR SERVER THANKED US FOR PUTTING OUR MASK ON WHENEVER HE APPROACHED OUR TABLE…. SINCE THAT WAS ONE OF THEIR GUIDELINES…..I NOTICED THERE WAS ONE COUPLE IN THE GARDEN WHO WAS NOT DOING THAT….BUT HONESTLY I DON’T THINK IT WAS MALICIOUS...I THINK IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN THEIR FIRST TIME DINING OUT DURING COVD BC WHEN THEY WALKED IN THEY REMARKED HOW ODD IT FELT TO SEE OTHER PEOPLE SITTING & EATING …..

AND THERE’S DEFINITELY A LEARNING CURB TO DINING OUT RIGHT NOW…. 

DISCUSSION ABOUT UNCLE BOONS THAI RESTAURANT.

DISCUSSION ABOUT QUEENS COMFORT RESTAURANT CLOSING IN ASTORIA QUEENS.

THE FIRST DAY OF INDOOR DINING IN NYC I WENT TO MERCADO LITTLE SPAIN WHICH IS A CONCEPT BY JOSE ANDRES & THE ADRIA BROTHERS AT HUDSON YARDS…..IT LOOKED LIKE THEY DEFINITELY HAD AN HVAC SYSTEM AND IT WAS GOING….THE AIR WAS CIRCULATING VERY STRONG + ALL THE GARAGE DOORS WERE OPEN TO HAVE THAT FRESH AIR FLOW….PEOPLE WERE BUNDLED UP….AND ONCE THE SUN SET ONE GROUP OF CUSTOMERS ASKED THE STAFF TO CLOSE THE DOORS AND THEY DID…... BECAUSE IT WAS PRETTY CHILLY…. 


OUTDOOR HEATER SHORTAGE:

WHICH BRINGS ME TO THE OUTDOOR HEATER SHORTAGE THAT WE’RE CURRENTLY SEEING…...FIRST IT WAS TOILET PAPER, THEN SANITIZER AND NOW IT’S OUTDOOR HEATERS…   WE RESEARCHED A FEW THEN DECIDED ON ONE THAT WE COULD PURCHASE FOR OUR PATIO AND THEN IT SOLD OUT EVERYWHERE….ONLINE, IN STORE….CAN’T FIND ONE ANYWHERE…... WEBSITE INVENTORY ISN’T BEING UPDATED…..WE’RE GOING WITH THE FLOW OF LIFE….NOT STRESSING BECAUSE THERE’S NOTHING THAT WE CAN DO…..AT SOME POINT THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF INVENTORY & WE’LL BUY WHAT WE NEED…….


ONE OF THE REASONS I THINK WE’RE NOT STRESSING OUT MORE…... IS BECAUSE CUSTOMER HABITS ARE A BIG UNKNOWN RIGHT NOW……..WE DON’T EVEN KNOW IF CUSTOMERS WILL ACTUALLY DINE OUTSIDE WHEN TEMPERATURES START DIPPING BELOW 45 DEGREES…...WE’RE ALREADY STARTING TO SEE PEOPLE THAT WOULD ONLY DINE OUTSIDE START TO MOVE INSIDE WHEN TEMPERATURES HIT THE 60’S…..SO ALL WE CAN DO IS TAKE IT WEEK BY WEEK & SEE HOW PEOPLE FEEL……

DISCUSSION ABOUT FLU SHOT.

RESTAURANT ACT:

IN POLITICAL NEWS…..THERE IS A RESTAURANT ACT FLOATING AROUND WASHINGTON….. THOUGH NOT FULLY FORMED, AT THIS POINT IT LOOKS LIKE RESTAURANTS WOULD QUALIFY FOR A GRANT EQUAL TO THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RESTAURANT'S GROSS SALES OF 2019 AND 2020.  

THERE MIGHT BE A REQUIREMENT TO USE A PERCENTAGE FOR PAYROLL AND THE REST FOR RENT AND PPE AND OTHER EXPENSES….SIMILAR TO THE PPP LOAN….

HELBRAUN LEVY - A LAW FIRM THAT FOCUSES ON THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY BROKE IT DOWN IN A SIMPLE WAY:

IF YOU WERE A 2 MILLION DOLLAR RESTAURANT LAST YEAR AND YOUR SALES ARE 25% OF THAT THIS YEAR (OR 500K), 

YOU WOULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR A GRANT OF 1.5 MILLION.

SO THERE WAS SOME HOPE WHEN THIS WAS ANNOUNCED A FEW WEEKS AGO BUT THEN TRUMPITO GOT ON TWITTER AND HE’S BEEN GOING BACK AN FORTH….SAYING WE’RE NOT PASSING ANYTHING UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION AND I’M ELECTED….SO WHO KNOWS WHAT’S HAPPENING……... THIS ACT WOULD DEFINITELY HELP A LOT OF BARS  AND RESTAURANTS IN STATES WITH LIMITED CAPACITY AS COLD WEATHER MOVES IN…….. INCLUDED IN THIS ACT WOULD ALSO BE MONEY FOR THE LIVE MUSIC VENUE INDUSTRY….

CUSTOMERS CAN CHANGE

BEFORE WE GO I WANT TO TAKE A MOMENT TO GIVE A CUSTOMER A SHOUT OUT…..LAST WEEK HE CANCLED HIS RESERVATION AT THE LAST MINUTE….WE CHARGED HIM THE CANCELLATION FEE….HE E-MAILED TO COMPLAIN….I WROTE A STANDARD REPLY REMINDING HIM OF OUR POLICY…..HE WROTE BACK AGAIN TRYING TO CHALLENGE US….I DIDN’T RESPOND AGAIN…...BUT THEN HE SENT US THIS MESSAGE:

“PLEASE DISREGARD MY EMAILS. YOU ARE CORRECT THAT I KNEW THE POLICY UP FRONT SO MY MISTAKE FOR NOT ABIDING BY THE TIMING. I APPRECIATE THE STRUGGLE OF LOCAL RESTAURANTS RIGHT NOW AND APOLOGIZE FOR MY INITIAL KNEE JERK REACTION. BEST OF LUCK MOVING FORWARD AND HOPE TO MAKE IT BACK IN ANOTHER TIME!”

I DON’T KNOW WHAT MADE HIM COMPLETELY CHANGE HIS TUNE BUT IT WAS AMAZING & REFRESHING AND I’M JUST GRATEFUL THAT HE SOMEHOW STEPPED INTO OUR SHOES FOR JUST A SECOND …..AND WAS OPEN TO SEEING OUR SIDE….. 

SO THANK YOU!

SCOTT THANKS FOR HANGING OUT WITH US…..

I WANT TO END EACH PODCAST ASKING IF THERE’S ANY TAKEAWAY THAT YOU’D LIKE TO LEAVE WITH LISTENERS…..THAT CAN POSITIVELY INFLUENCE THEIR LIVES….. 

IT COULD BE SOMETHING THAT WE JUST DISCUSSED, A PRO TIP OR GENERAL  LIFE ADVICE THAT YOU LIVE BY, YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW AT THE MOMENT, A BOOK WE SHOULD ALL KNOW ABOUT ? A PLACE WE SHOULD VISIT AROUND THE WORLD? A FOOD WE SHOULD EAT? …..ANYTHING……..

…...THANKS FOR LISTENING….AND IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY….... SUBSCRIBE TO “HAVE YOU EATEN YET?” ….WHEREVER YOU GET YOUR PODCASTS…...


Dining Out in NYC
Eating at Rubirosa
Eating at Musket Room
Anti Maskers
Eating at Mercado Little Spain
Uncle Boons Closure
Queens Comfort Closure
New Covid NYC Hotspots
Outdoor Heater Shortage
Restaurant Act
Flu Shot
Reminder to tip properly
Customers CAN Change