New York City restaurants have always added a few hearty dishes to their menus come winter. But now that they are limited to serving customers outdoors because of the coronavirus pandemic, the focus on such fare has become almost mandatory, if not an obsession.

“You need stuff that sticks to your ribs,” said Jeremy Schaller, owner of Hütte, an Alpine-themed restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Mr. Schaller created the outdoor establishment with the pandemic restrictions in mind and has made such comfort food-minded offerings as venison goulash and pork chops the stars of his bill of fare.

Of course, restaurants are naturally trying to keep patrons warm and shielded from the elements with outdoor setups that often come with heating lamps. But proprietors say designing the right menu for these times is critical as well.

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