Here are the ‘Alfresco Award’ winners for NYC’s best open streets and outdoor dining spots

August 9, 2021

Maiden Korea, 316 5th Avenue; Courtesy of Alfresco NYC

Over 11,500 restaurants across New York City currently participate in the city’s outdoor dining program, which launched last summer to help businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, seven of them were recognized for being the best examples of outdoor dining setups across the boroughs as part of the first-ever Alfresco Awards. The program, created by a group of local nonprofits, also acknowledged the city’s best Open Streets, an initiative that closes streets to cars for pedestrian use.

Peaches Kitchen and Bar in Bed-Stuy; Courtesy of Alfresco NYC

The awards come as both the city’s Open Restaurants and Open Streets programs, both of which launched in response to the pandemic, are set to become permanent fixtures in New York.

The Alfresco NYC coalition is made up of the Design Trust for Public Space, the Regional Plan Association, and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, all of which are advocates for open streets. The coalition is currently developing design guidelines for outdoor dining structures that fit within the public space while also remaining affordable for small businesses.

Empire Diner in Chelsea; Courtesy of Alfresco NYC

Winners of the first-ever Alfresco awards were chosen by a panel of journalists, restaurant and economic development professionals, and mobility advocates. Each winner received $500. The panel selected winners by judging the restaurant’s creativity, use of sustainable materials, and accessibility and integration within the neighborhood.

The following restaurants are 2021 Alfresco Award winners:

34th Avenue Open Street; Courtesy of Alfresco NYC

Prizes for the best Open Streets programs were awarded to the following initiatives:

The Alfresco Awards also recognized two collaborative efforts: the Assembly for Chinatown, a collaboration between Think!Chinatown, A+A+A Studio and Chaos Built, and Maiden Korea, a partnership between businesses for shared seating in Koreatown.

Honorable mentions include Chelsea Market, Curbside Canvas, DineOut NYC, Kindred, and St. James Joy.

“Today is a celebration of outdoor dining and open streets – as well as an acknowledgment of how New Yorkers came together in one of our darkest hours to make our city more sustainable, equitable and accessible,” Tom Wright, president of Regional Plan Association, said.

“We congratulate all of the winners for prevailing in a stiff competition with establishments in every borough that brought creative and innovative designs to life. The winners all provide real guideposts for how outdoor dining and open streets can be implemented at their very best.”


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