When o.d.o. by Odo reopens its eating room for the primary time in additional than six months on Wednesday night, the 14-seat chef’s counter that helped create its intimate environment might be empty.
Instead, as much as eight diners will sit in a non-public eating room after getting their temperatures checked to get pleasure from a prix fixe dinner ready by Chef Hiroki Odo.
The Japanese fine-dining restaurant, which earned its first Michelin star final yr, is among the many many New York City eating places which might be adapting their eating rooms to reopen for purchasers in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. After town turned the epicenter of the pandemic, authorities officers have been extra cautious in reopening its economic system, fearing a return of overcrowded hospitals and nonstop ambulance sirens. Facing a $2 billion lawsuit from a whole bunch of restaurant homeowners, Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced three weeks in the past that indoor eating may return to the 5 boroughs at 25% capability on the final day of the month.
The choice is supposed to assist stem the losses of town’s restaurant business, which has been upended by the disaster. In August, 87% of restaurant homeowners couldn’t pay their full hire, based on a survey by the New York Hospitality Alliance.
But the 25% capability restrict signifies that restaurant homeowners are having to make do with fewer clients and better prices, like masks for workers and extra frequent cleansing. O.d.o. co-owner Satoru Yasumatsu stated that the speakeasy-style restaurant will hold its outside eating open for now, till the capability restrict is raised.
Other New York eating places, like Porter House Bar and Grill in Manhattan’s Time Warner Center, are holding off on reopening their eating rooms till capability limits are solely half of pre-pandemic limits.
Restaurant homeowners won’t have to attend quite a lot of extra weeks to unlock the upper capability restrict. Cuomo has stated that restrictions might be reassessed on Nov. 1 and restrictions could possibly be loosened, so long as the an infection charge isn’t growing.
But native well being officers have been sounding the alarm in current days in regards to the rising variety of circumstances within the metropolis. Outbreaks in Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods have pushed town’s constructive take a look at charge to its highest degree since June. A current report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked restaurant eating to elevated threat of contracting Covid-19, though the National Restaurant Association has referred to as the examine’s methodology flawed and stated it’s irresponsible to pin the unfold of the virus on one business.
As o.d.o. exams the waters for New Yorkers’ urge for food to eat indoors, its personal eating room will solely be open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, with simply two reservation occasions: 5:45 p.m. and eight:30 p.m.
“Our restaurant is small,” Yasumatsu stated. “Even using a private room, we can accommodate eight people maximum, depends on the size of the parties. That’s not enough for us to survive.”
While the adjustments to its seating would possibly hinder the expertise of consuming at o.d.o., Yasumatsu stated that the restaurant is planning to lift the stakes on its meals for the personal eating room.
“That’s the only option that we are thinking about at this moment,” he stated. “And hopefully the city allows the bar seating to open, even at 25% capacity.”
Yasumatsu expects that indoor eating will deliver again higher-paying clients. Current gross sales are down about 50% in contrast with final yr. Before the pandemic pushed o.d.o. to supply supply for the primary time and to maneuver tables open air, the restaurant may rely on a buyer to spend $200 on a prix fixe multi-course meal often known as kaiseki.
But o.d.o.’s dexterity in the course of the disaster has additionally prolonged to its menu. Rather than supply the standard multi-course dinner, its outside choices are a la carte and are available at a cheaper price level than kaiseki. Still, outside eating has introduced first-time clients to the restaurant, based on Yasumatsu.
On Friday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio made expanded outside eating everlasting and year-round for eating places. Before, the choice was set to run out on the finish of October. As temperatures in New York drop, Yasumatsu joins different restaurant homeowners in on the lookout for methods to increase its lifespan, from tents to heaters.
Still, o.d.o. is not betting totally on clients eager to eat at its restaurant, both open air or inside. It’s launching sushi and House of Suntory whiskey occasions at a bigger venue a number of blocks south of its Flatiron location. Yasumatsu stated that the restaurant can also be engaged on citywide sushi supply, aimed toward wider-range viewers than its ordinary expensive fare, and taking its higher-end supply nationwide via a possible partnership with Goldbelly.