‘Let’s face it, we've had a rough year’: New Jersey restaurant owners hope warm weather brings crowds
Many restaurant owners around New Jersey, including Asbury Park, are hoping with the warm weather, the crowds will return to their outdoor accommodations.
“Let’s face it, we've had a rough year,” says Amy Russo, owner of Toast. “Everyone's just jonesing. We had a lot of snow. People are jonesing for nice weather, sun to sit outside.”
Outdoor dining never went away this winter in Asbury Park, even though the cold and snow tables remained outside for the hearty. But with a week left before restaurants can open indoors at 50%, a number of owners are hoping 70-degree weather sets the stage for a spring preview and busy return outside.
“Oh my God, I am so, so excited to see this beautiful weather and to serve my customers in outside seats,” says Ada Asghedom, with Ada's Gojjo. “I have the most beautiful outside seats.”
For many restaurant owners, spring couldn't come quickly enough, with a cold snowy winter and indoor dining capped at 35%.
“Everybody has had enough and there are a lot of places that are closed, not so many in town thankfully but other towns across the state, it's been decimated,” says Russo.
Cookman Avenue will once again offer a centerpiece of outdoor dining in the food-centric shore city. Kristi Nesbitt says serving customers in the outside igloos will feel much better at 70 degrees than at the freezing mark.
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“We are going to have everybody out here, everybody on the streets, we will have to work overtime make more drinks than normal it's going to be great for the town especially after everything that's been going on,” says Kristi Nesbitt, with Lola's European Café.
Restaurant owners say even at 50% indoor capacity levels, the struggle to survive will persist. They are hoping for not just a taste of spring, but an extended period of above normal weather to sweep across the state in the next few weeks.