As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge through the United States, restaurants have been put in a tough spot, with many having to provide carry-out only service or even shut down.
However, with the pandemic came a silver lining in the form of Open Streets programs. Local and city governments, such as in New York City, cut off traffic on certain streets, and in some cases, allowed restaurants to open their doors to patrons beyond the confines of their buildings and set up shop on nearby sidewalks and streets.
The initiative overall was wildly popular, according to a poll from Transportation Alternatives, and in New York City, for example, the ability for restaurants to open these "streateries" will become permanent starting in 2023, according to the New York City Department of Transportation.
The Alfresco NYC Coalition recently announced the winners of its first Alfresco Awards, given to restaurants that took advantage of the program and made use of their outdoor spaces.
"The winners all provide real guideposts for how outdoor dining and open streets can be implemented at their very best," said Tom Wright, president of the Regional Plan Association, one of the award program's sponsors, in a press release.
Read below about some of the winners:
This Latin American staple in Queens creates a fully outdoor experience, with seamless design and color coordination that significantly enhances the vibe at the corner of 30th Avenue and 38th St.
Peaches Kitchen and Bar
Peaches restaurant in Brooklyn uses reclaimed plastics made into building block bottles for a stylish and sustainable aesthetic. The next steps include sustainable power sources as well as air exchange.
Located in Brooklyn, Kokomo's seventh iteration of its outdoor structure transports diners to the Caribbean while providing improved wheelchair access, warm lighting, movable banquettes and variety of seating.
In Staten Island, a borough with few Open Restaurants, Italian spot Vinum offers an elegant rustic wood exterior aesthetic to match the restaurant's interior that’s neatly aligned with the curb and the street's slope.
With an efficient seating arrangement and slim design, the outdoor dining area of this Manhattan eatery is accessible and takes up minimal space without feeling crowded.
Casa La Femme
Distinguished by its maximalist design and decoration, this Egyptian cuisine eatery in Manhattan uses real plants and elements of its indoor dining style to create a relaxing and luxurious outdoor dining experience.
Boogie Down Grind
Featuring a "Subway car" design, this South Bronx coffee shop hosts free community events to showcase local artists and represents a big effort in an area with few Open Restaurants.
This story was updated with a new photo of Boogie Down Grind.