In March, following the sweeping onset of COVID19, New York City eateries were given the chance to reinvent. They responded, from gourmet takeout to curbside cocktails to-go, and as summer brings loosening restrictions and beautiful weather, many borough hotspots are turning to al fresco dining to boost business

by Tia Kim

Throughout the pandemic, Orange Grill in Bath Beach kept essential workers fed, donating more than 3,500 meals to five major area hospitals. Now that the food industry is returning to some form of normalcy, the eatery is focused on keeping its patrons safe.

“We are keeping everything as clean as possible, sanitizing all common surfaces twice a day, as well as keeping hand sanitizers in all convenient places around our establishment,” Orange Grill’s management noted.

The restaurant, which specializes in French-Japanese fusion, offered a “to-go” version of its gourmet menu during quarantine and continues to serve its popular streamlined specialties. Rib-eye steak is served with truffle mushroom aioli, lobster ravioli is handmade and smothered in creamy bisque, and the mozzarella Caprese salad features farmer’s tomatoes, basil, olive oil, capers, and balsamic reduction. Orange Grill, 2547 Cropsey Avenue, 347.673.5411,

Locally recognized for bringing authentic Turkish-Mediterranean food to Sheepshead Bay, this waterfront restaurant, which specializes in fresh fish and seafood, turned to online ordering in March, even supplying cocktails, wine, and beer to its loyal patrons. Now that restrictions have loosened, Liman is currently hosting dinner in its open-air outdoor dining room.

“At Liman, we’ve continued to lead the way on Emmons Avenue by going above and beyond to protect our team and guests,” the restaurant noted. “We are fortunate to have our open-air outdoor waterfront dining space, which has allowed us to resume operations at a limited, socially distanced capacity. Besides following all NYC Health Department guidelines to the letter, we have distanced tables, created a scannable QR code menu, added disposable one-time use paper menus, and have additionally implemented extra sanitation efforts and committed team members to ensure surfaces and masks are cleaned and replaced.”


A Brooklyn staple for 20 years, the restaurant is best known for its spinach sauté, with pine nuts, garlic, and onion, and its Turkish meatballs, served chargrilled and spiced with Turkish herbs. Liman is open seven days a week and reservations can be made online, but please note that availability is limited.

“We look forward to once again seeing our guests, but we look forward to meeting responsibly,” the owner said. Liman Restaurant, 2710 Emmons Avenue, 718.769.3322,

When New York entered phase two, Yiasou focused on its sidewalk seating, ensuring that every inch of the Greek eatery was cleaned and sanitized before and after every diner. “We are ensuring the safety of our guests and employees by cleaning and sanitizing our restaurant every day,” ownership said. “Each table is cleaned and sanitized after every turnover. Silverware is wrapped in our napkins to ensure no contamination. Employees wear masks and gloves at all times. Gloves are changed as often as necessary and hands are washed every time gloves are changed.”

Many changes have taken effect. Tables are separated by six feet and employee temperatures are monitored before every shift. The restaurant’s specialties, however, remain the same. Fish is charcoal grilled, fresh vegetables are steamed and sautéed, and all of Yiasou’s dips and spreads are served with the restaurant’s famous assorted flatbreads.

“The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority, and we are taking every step necessary to ensure this.” Yiasou, 2003 Emmons Avenue, 718.332.6064,

At Marco Polo in Carroll Gardens, the COVID outbreak did not cease the service of Blue Point oysters, veal meatballs, and rack of lamb. The posh dining spot has continued offering curbside pickup and delivery since March and is now proudly featuring outdoor dining service.

“We are offering a modified menu, summery drinks, and casual tableside service,” the restaurant noted. “Hand sanitizer is brought to customers before and after the meal so that everyone feels comfortable and safe. We also perform routine health and safety checks for our employees and have regular health code checks as well.”

Open since 1983, Marco Polo is one of Brooklyn’s most acclaimed eateries. Marco Polo Ristorante, 345 Court Street, 718.852.5015,

Craving authentic Mexican flautas or beef barbacoa? Lobo Loco Mexican Cantina in Bay Ridge is serving that and more in the restaurant’s outdoor dining space. And it’s all offered in a sanitized and socially distanced environment.

“Lobo Loco is doing everything possible to keep our community healthy,” the restaurant noted. “We are taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of all. Our bathrooms are cleaned every hour. Our menus are wiped down with sanitizer after every use. Our employees are wearing masks full time. Our tables are spaced six feet apart. Hand sanitizer is available at our menu station for all to use.”

Here, customers can find homemade empanadas, ceviche, and roasted poblanos with corn. Main dishes include traditional quesadillas, fajitas, burritos, and chimichangas. Lobo Loco, 8530 3rd Avenue, 718.921.1234,