NYC Restaurant Week will be takeout-only amid COVID-19

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NYC Restaurant Week will be takeout-only amid COVID-19

New York City’s Restaurant Week is back — but this time no reservations are required.

The popular, decades-old promotion that lets people try out fancy restaurants at a moderate cost is relaunching after a lull as a takeout-only program.

Restaurant Week To Go, as its being dubbed, will kickoff on Jan. 25 to Jan. 31 with participating restaurants offering lunch or dinner with one side dish for $20.21, the city’s tourism bureau NYC & Company said on Wednesday.

The service marks a resumption of the semi-annual program after it was cancelled last summer for first time in the 29 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 100 eateries have signed up for Restaurant Week To Go, including Bar Boulud, RedFarm, Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe, the agency said.

Others are expected to join. To entice more to sign up, the tourism bureau has waived the hefty fee to participate in Restaurant Week, said NYC & Company spokesman, Chris Heywood, declining to disclose the fee.

“But it’s not as easy to get restaurants to sign up now,” Heywood said. “Some are not doing take-out or are temporarily closed right now.”

MasterCard is sponsoring the program and providing diners who sign up for Restaurant Week with a $10 rebate for all orders, but delivery fees and gratuities are extra.

Last year, some 350 eateries participated in the winter program and participating restaurants charged $26 for a pre-fixe lunch and $42 for a pre-fixe dinner. But with an indoor dining off-limits due to the coronavirus, diners will be tasting new menus at home instead of in the dining rooms of eateries like Aureole, Benjamin Steakhouse Prime or Scarpetta, which have all participated in past Restaurant Weeks. 

NYC & Company had also hoped to offer a discount on delivery fees and is in negotiations with some of the major companies, Heywood said.

The agency is asking third-party delivery companies to provide “temporary relief to their restaurants during the program dates,” according to the sign-up form the agency has distributed to restaurants. 

“Lifting up local restaurants and their workers as they navigate these challenging tims is essential, now more than ever,” NYC & Company chief executive, Fred Dixon said in a statement.

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