A slice of Gino’s pizza and an ice-cold beer from Blue Point Brewing Co. was just what the mayor of Patchogue needed after a long few months of quarantine; he celebrated with such on the first day of outdoor dining in Suffolk County on Wednesday, June 10.
“It was great to walk down there and see people,” he added of the reopening. “These owners are not making a lot these days, but some of the pressure is off, and emotionally, just being able to be back in businesses is extremely important.”
Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kennedy said he also walked around the downtown at both lunch and dinnertime on the first night of reopening, also enjoying a Blue Point beer with the mayor and county executive. “It was uplifting to see the hustle and bustle back in our downtown.” He said that most tables were full of diners and retail stores were up and running, all while abiding social-distancing guidelines.
“It felt as close to a normal day in Patchogue as I’ve seen in a long time,” he added. “We look forward to getting to the next reopening phase.”
It was announced earlier this month that restaurants were approved for outdoor dining in Phase 2 of the New York Forward plan. However, restaurant owners still rallied on Monday, June 8 outside Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone’s office in an effort to get indoor dining at 50 percent capacity approved by June 17.
Still, local restaurant owners like James Bonanno, owner of the Tap Room and Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce Restaurant Committee chair, said he was happy to get back into the swing of things, and thankful to be fortunate enough to have large outdoor spaces in the new beer garden and back parking lot. The Tap Room is currently outfitted with 20 outdoor dining tables.
“It felt really great to be back and see familiar faces,” he said, also hinting that the committee is in the process of creating on-street dining a few nights a week during the summer months. “We were very busy and the feedback was great that people were excited to be back getting served again.” Pontieri said the State Liquor Authority is on board with the request for on-street dining and hosted an informational for business owners and officials on how to do so within the COVID-19 parameters earlier this week, though protocols, he said, are similar to Alive After Five.
“Outdoor dining permits was something we have been doing for the last seven years… so it has been reasonably easy for this stage,” said Pontieri. “Next step is getting Main Street closed for on-street dining, which is a little more complicated.”
Father’s Day to launch on-street dining
The Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce plans to launch their first on-street outdoor dining event on Father’s Day, June 21, from noon to 9 p.m. Specific details are still being worked out, but basically the event would span from east to west Main Street, with closures to allow ample dining space. All diners will be required to wear a mask until seated and staff must wear one at all times. Also, all tables will be spaced six feet apart.