When someone visiting New York City asks me what I feel makes this place so magical, one of the first things that comes to mind is always the food. With so many people and such a diverse population, your options are many. This also means fierce competition among local dining establishments, even bodega’s have to stay on top of their game to compete with the chopped cheese two blocks over. So as if 2020 hasn’t been hard enough, now local businesses have to prepare for outdoor dining and a winter dining season full of unknown factors.

At least now, as of today, there is some semblance of order beginning to take place with the new Guidelines for Using Propane Heaters Outdoors. Although, this news comes with its own pros and cons. The profit margins in the food industry can be unforgiving, the price to rent a space for a business in any borough is shocking, and now restaurant owners have the added expense of creating a safe / heated outdoor space for their patrons. Oh yeah, let’s not forget the drastic decrease in tourism dollars that will not be returning anytime soon.

Look on the bright side

But enough with the bad news. We all know that this winter will be challenging and as New Yorkers we will do what is necessary to take care of ourselves and our neighbors. I just had to let off some steam after coming across an old photo of me and Margoth, one of my mentors in business and in life. This picture was taken after an incredible meal at Don Coqui that was once located on City Island. For those of you with an itch for a good mofongo they still have several locations that are open throughout New York.

If you have the time, I kindly ask that you please try a new dining experience and then proceed to make your rounds to every favorite food spot you have in this city. The food trucks in The Bronx, the Colombian dishes in Jackson Heights, the Ramen in Chinatown, that spot on Fulton with the good hummus, those bagels in Bay Ridge, the catfish in Harlem, that Brazilian steak in Astoria, the lamb over rice in Jamaica, the chopped cheese in El Barrio, the rice balls in Little Italy, that chicken salad in Turtle Bay that was surprisingly good, that……well, I could go on but hopefully you get the point. They need our support to get through the winter. It’s an election year and this country seems more divided than ever. Let’s set a good example as a city and support our local businesses, and one another in any way that we can. Turn the news off, put the paper down, ignore the trolls on social media and focus on our community. Or, at the very least, stop by Junior’s for something sweet and a cup of coffee.

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