In an effort to tout New York City’s booming sidewalk cafés, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and the New York State Restaurant Association co-sponsored the first 2006 Sidewalk Café Drink contest to kick-off the summer season. A panel of experienced judges gave top nods to Manhattan restaurants Vento Trattoria (675 Hudson Street) and Henry’s (2745 Broadway) for their alcoholic and non-alcoholic recipes - the V(ini) and Guavade, respectively. DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz and NYS Restaurant Association Executive Vice President Chuck Hunt made the official announcement at Vento Trattoria in Manhattan, alongside the winning mixologists.
"New York now has nearly 900 sidewalk cafés – that’s a sign of a great summer. A winning café drink is definitely in order," said DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. "The recipes submitted by the restaurants were as diverse as the City’s cafés, and we congratulate the winners for wowing the judges." Mintz also thanked the contest’s co-sponsors at the New York State Restaurant Association and New York’s Institute for Culinary Education, as well as judges Rick Smilow, Jared Brown, and Anistatia Miller.
"We’re excited to partner with the Department of Consumer Affairs to highlight the City’s sidewalk cafés," said Chuck Hunt, Executive Vice President of the New York State Restaurant Association. "The mixologists and restaurant owners that participated should be commended for their creativity and outstanding recipes, and we congratulate the winners."
All restaurants with legally operating sidewalk cafés were invited to submit their recipe for consideration. Judges sampled the finalists’ entries prepared by restaurant mixologists at the Institute for Culinary Education. Entries were judged based on the international code for cocktail judging: appearance, taste, and overall presentation/technique. Judges included Rick Smilow, president of New York’s Institute of Culinary Education, and Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller, co-authors of Shaken Not Stirred: A Celebration of the Martini and Champagne Cocktails and founding members of the Museum of the American Cocktail.
"We had a great time judging the finalists’ recipes for the 2006 Sidewalk Café Drink contest," said Rick Smilow, president of New York’s Institute for Culinary Education. "The choices were all fantastic and showed great creativity. The winners deserve a nod for creating drinks perfect for relaxing at an outdoor café this summer."
"The first New York sidewalk café cocktail competition showed that New York is not only the greatest city in the world, it also has some of the best cocktails. We’re looking forward to beating the heat at all of the finalists’ cafés this summer," said Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller.
Runners-up in the alcoholic mix category included Divino’s Summer Breeze submitted by Divino Ristorante (1556 Second Avenue, Manhattan), and the Blood Orange Basil Sorbetini submitted by Tony’s Di Napoli (1606 Second Avenue, Manhattan). Runners-up in the non-alcoholic mix category included Manhattan Special Iced Cappucino submitted by Sambuca’s Café (105 Mulberry Street) and the Maternatini submitted by Park East Grill (1564 Second Avenue, Manhattan).
"We’re happy to represent the City’s sidewalk café owners and proud that Vento Trattoria’s recipe for the V(ini) topped the judge’s picks," said Stephen Hanson, president of B.R.Guest Restaurants.
"We’re excited to be a participant in the Sidewalk Café Drink contest, and especially glad the judges liked our Guavade!" said Henry Rinehart, owner of Henry’s restaurant in Manhattan.
Restaurants with sidewalk cafés are at an all-time high, with nearly 900 legally operating throughout the City and more than 100 others with applications. With the process for getting a new café faster and easier than ever, DCA has begun conducting neighborhood outreach to restaurants. Outreach teams recently visited more than 70 restaurants in neighborhoods citywide, distributing license applications and business guides to owners and managers.
The DCA licenses 55 different categories of business in New York City, including sidewalk cafés, and enforces the City’s Consumer Protection Law prohibiting deceptive practices. For license applications and design guidelines, call 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK), or go online to the DCA website www.nyc.gov/consumers.