Some 12,000 sidewalk eateries—”streeteries,” as they’ve come to be known—have been erected across New York City since the initial lockdowns receded, throwing a lifetime to restaurants while providing us safe and well-ventilated places to reconnect. With an extended stay granted through 2022, and the prospect of a permanent DOT-managed Open Restaurants Program in 2023, they’re not going away overnight. Here’s a perfect ten to visit across Manhattan and Brooklyn.


Don Angie
103 Greenwich Avenue, West Village

More tables couldn’t have come sooner for Don Angie, which darn near topped the list of coveted reservations when it opened in 2017 and, thanks to a subsequent Michelin star, keeps every bit of its buzz. These handsome, crimson curbside booths were crafted by GRT Architects, the Greenpoint practice that designed the restaurant itself (and has subsequently emerged as the city’s most prolific streetery builder). Come for the pinwheel lasagna—and stay for the fior di latte mochi, because you’ll keep warm enough for dessert.


Hill Country
30 West 26th Street, Flatiron

It’s only right that Manhattan’s preeminent brisket broker has a Texas-sized streetery. But the big factor is only half of it: An entire portion of this creation simulates an actual country cottage, rustic-chic to the nines with throw pillows, wall art, and other Pinterest-worthy accents that feel straight out of an Austin influencer’s playbook. That section is more geared for larger groups—certainly don’t expect to be seated there if you’re dining as a lone star—but all outdoor options are just plain lovely.


Bandits
44 Bedford Street, West Village

True to the promise heralded by its wraparound marquee, the outdoor diner at Bandits delivers with “cold beers, really good cocktails, and okay people, too.” Thanks to its thoughtful design, you’ll also get a similar nostalgic feel to being inside this curated pseudo-dive (think formica, fish tanks, and swivel stools). It’s split in two sections—each with private, heated and windowed compartments. Whether you’re booked for brunch or grabbing a few rounds of Bradshaw on Bedfords and halal tots, it’s always a good vibe.

 


Empire Diner
210 10th Avenue, Chelsea

This quintessential West Side eatery had already been dealt a tough hand—specifically, two failed reboots since its original incarnation closed in 2010. Nevertheless, the Chelsea classic perseveres, and is again thriving thanks to the team from neighborhood favorite Cafeteria. The curbside dining structure channels the sleek Streamline Moderne lines of the eatery itself, fashioned by the Fodero Dining Car Company way back when Harry Truman was president. Pro tip: Grab a table in the round-tailed ends and feel like you’re riding the 20th Century Limited.


Quality Eats
1496 2nd Avenue, Upper East Side

This 21st-century riff on the neighborhood steakhouse has stayed consistently on brand with its streeteries, enlisting the help of GRT (Quality shares common ownership with Don Angie) to bring stylish outdoor dining to both of its Manhattan locations. The handsome sheds, designed in the restaurant’s Wes Anderson-esque aesthetic and painted in its signature Robin’s Egg blue, boast finished-wood booths, handsome lighting, pink curtains and, on the street side, real windows.

 


Dolly Varden
302 W. 51st Street, Hell’s Kitchen

Named in tribute to the feisty coquette in Charles Dickens’ 1841 novel Barnaby Rudge, this Hell’s Kitchen cocktail den also honors a hyper-local etymology: a legendary New York Central train that once ran from the old 30th Street Station on Manhattan’s West Side. They’ve created quite the head-turning streetery, simulating a clerestory-roofed passenger coach from the 1870s. Have enough rounds of Lincoln’s Last Rides (the 16th president’s funeral train took the route of the watering hole’s eponymous express) and you’ll feel like you’re riding a dandy Victorian-era express to Spuyten Duyvil.


Guevara’s
39 Clifton Place, Clinton Hill

This plant-based scion of meat-forward Mekelburg’s made a bold mid-pandemic debut back when outdoor seating was the only seating. It’s therefore little surprise the creators of this Cuban-inspired cafe took theirs above and beyond, defining Guevara’s with a memorable curbside moment passers-by simply can’t ignore. The warm pink structure boasts Mission arches, zigzagging black-and-white tile, and designer lighting, setting a perfect mood for guava-cinnamon lattes or a vegan breakfast torta with king trumpet mushroom “bacon” and a mung bean frittata.


Honey Badger
67 Fenimore Street, Prospect Lefferts Gardens

Contrary to popular internet belief, Honey Badger does care—at least the one just off PLG’s main drag of Flatbush Avenue a block from Prospect Park. This innovative “wild-to-table” restaurant has constructed a half dozen high-hygge sidewalk chalets as artful as its cuisine, providing a private, cozy, and enchanting environment to sample the kaleidoscopic tasting menus crafted by owners Fjölla Sheholli and Junayd Juman, each one bespoke to whatever bounties their foragers can source. It’s an edible art project with the space to match.


Lilia
567 Union Avenue, Williamsburg

The wood-fired Italian stalwart by James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Missy Robbins partnered up with American Express and Resy to host one of their two NYC Amex Yurt Villages (the other being the FiDi’s Crown Shy). On the triangular public plaza on North 10th and Union, you’ll find ten of the four-seater canvas huts, which complement a row of outdoor sidewalk tables directly beside the restaurant. Each yurt has its own overhead heat lamp, meaning you can comfortably chow down your agnolotti out there even on a cold winter’s night.


— Photography by Emily Zerella —

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