Eatery’s reopening is litmus test for Manhattan restaurants

Theater District mainstay will try to beat the odds

Joe Allen on 326 46th Street (Google Maps; iStock)
Joe Allen on 326 46th Street (Google Maps; iStock)

Although Broadway is shut down until next year, one restaurant in the Theater District has decided the show must go on.

Joe Allen on 46th Street, which long served as a meeting ground for Broadway performers and show-goers, is reopening Thursday after closing its doors in March, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The eatery’s attempted revival will serve as something of a litmus test for restaurants that are trying to survive in an uncertain climate, particularly those in areas of the city where foot traffic has plunged and quality-of-life complaints have arisen.

“It makes me feel good I can do something for Broadway, but I don’t know if it’s going to work,” Julie Cronauer, who runs Joe Allen with her father, told the Journal.

In recent months, debate has persisted about to what extent New York can come back. Many areas have begun to fill up with outdoor diners, and the state recently allowed restaurants in the city to serve customers indoors at a reduced capacity. But with temperatures falling and Covid remaining a potent threat, the jury is out. The challenge is most daunting in areas that relied on tourists and office workers, including the Theater District.

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“There’s no one in Times Square,” Jeffrey Bank, chief executive of Alicart Restaurant Group, told the Journal. The group owns famed establishment Carmine’s, which has yet to reopen its Theater District location.

But a few other high-profile eateries in Manhattan have decided to fire up their grills, including 11 Madison Park.

The wider restaurant industry is already severely damaged, with about a third of restaurants and bars that were open before the pandemic now closed, according to a recent audit.

The same number could close in the next six months, the audit warned, threatening more than 100,000 jobs.

[WSJ] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan

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