Some NJ restaurants push on with outdoor dining even as temperatures drop
How cold is too cold for outdoor dining? With temperatures around New Jersey the coldest they have been since the pandemic began, there are some who say that it is still not cold enough for them to go inside to eat.
“I’m just not comfortable with it. And you don’t need to when they put the heaters on and they’ve built these lovely streets," says Amy Kron, of Hoboken. “You don’t want to spend four hours out, but it’s fine for an hour or two.”
Many New Jersey restaurants are prepared to keep customers warm and comfortable outside. They have invested a lot of money in heaters, propane and the construction of outdoor dining options.
“What we have set up here with plexiglass on three sides and the front totally open, it cuts down on the wind shear,” says Anthony Pino, of Anthony David’s Restaurant in Hoboken.
Pino says that he spent thousands of dollars to put up and maintain the outdoor dining space. Designed by an architect, it stood up to last month’s snowstorm.
Pino says that he wouldn’t be able to make ends meet on just the 25% indoor capacity limits, so the investment into outdoor dining is paying off. He says that this is especially true when he compares reservations at tables in the parklet to the tables outside of it.
“Without it, we’d be in severe issues financially. And for everyone – the staff, no place to work. It makes the whole number work at both locations,” Pino says.
Restaurant owners who are unable to set up such an elaborate outdoor dining space say that they hope that Gov. Phil Murphy expands indoor dining to at least 50%. They are also looking forward to the warmer weather.