NEW YORK — Massimo Felici, executive chef at Vinum on Staten Island's north shore, has gotten creative trying to keep his customers engaged since the start of the pandemic.
"I started doing cooking classes virtual on Zoom," he explained. "I do wine tasting and wine dinners on Zoom."
What You Need To Know
- A record 570 restaurants are participating NYC Restaurant Week To Go
- Participating restaurants will offer lunch and/or dinner that includes a prix-fixe entrée and at least one side for $20.21
- Restaurant Week To Go will run through January 31
Felici's latest venture: New York City Restaurant Week. It's the first time the Staten Island eatery has participated in the bi-yearly event. But that too needed to be reimagined, with indoor dinning still banned. So now, all orders are takeout or delivery only.
"Even though it is a different time, and even though restaurants are struggling, we are still the restaurant capital," said Christopher Heywood, the executive Vice President of Global Communication at NYC & Company. "The innovation, the talent, the great food it still here."
This year, a record 19 Staten Island restaurants are participating in the city's Restaurant Week To Go," including the famed Port Richmond pizzeria Denino's. Owner Michael Burke said pre-pandemic customers mainly dined in or picked up their orders. The uptick in delivery orders was a big adjustment.
"Trial and error," Burke said. "We just kept the things that were working and weeded out ideas and problems as it came along."
Burke and Felici say the Restaurant Week promo won't boost their business as much as they need, but they hope it reminds people they are still open and keeps them from losing customers. Both restaurants say many people are getting in their cars and driving just a few miles to New Jersey, where indoor dinning is still allowed.
"Once we reopen up, those customers, they'll come to me, but maybe instead of coming twice a week or twice every two weeks, they'll share between me and going to Jersey because they found themselves new spots in Jersey," said Felici.
Restaurant Week To Go runs through the end of the month. Every eatery will offer a special entree and side for just $20.21.
To find a participating restaurant, visit nycgo.com/restaurant-week
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