JUNE 24, 2024


Pilot Program, "Dining Out in District 6," Will Launch with Federal Funding Secured by Congresswoman Meng, Starting with Three Restaurants on Northern Boulevard

SBS, NYC DOT Launch Five-Borough Outreach Blitz to Ensure Awareness of August 3rd Deadline for Restaurants with Existing Outdoor Dining Setups to Apply for Dining Out NYC

NEW YORK — Ahead of the August 3rd deadline for restaurants with existing outdoor dining setups to apply for Dining Out NYC, the Adams administration announced $2 million in federal funding to provide approximately 60 Queens restaurants with new code-compliant, no-cost outdoor dining setups. The funding, secured by Congresswoman Grace Meng, comes from a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) grant received by the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). The program will be limited to New York's 6th Congressional District (NY-6), which includes some of the city's most diverse neighborhoods, including Bayside, Elmhurst, Flushing, Forest Hills, and Rego Park, with restaurants serving culinary offerings from around the globe.

New Dining Out NYC-compliant setups have already been distributed to two locations, with a third scheduled for late summer, as a pilot showcasing creative solutions for restaurants in utilizing modular "kit-of-parts" setups. Colombian restaurant Mojitos and Latin-fusion restaurant Fabrika will receive setups from companies on the NYC Department of Transportation's (NYC DOT) Dining Out NYC Marketplace directory. The third, planned for The Queensboro restaurant, will incorporate the city's newly designed custom water-filled barrier units.

The setups at these pilot locations will inform SBS's support of NY-6 restaurants, as well as support NYC DOT's Dining Out NYC Marketplace, as the city transitions to the permanent outdoor dining program. Through the Dining Out in District 6 program, SBS's Food & Beverage Industry Partnership will work directly with participating NY-6 restaurant operators, providing an array of services and resources designed to improve the strength and sustainability of their businesses. Restaurants located within Congresswoman Meng's district interested in one of the no-cost kits should fill out an Interest Form or call SBS at 888-SBS-4NYC.

The announcement of the federal funding comes as NYC DOT and SBS ramp up promotion of the Dining Out NYC program. Restaurants that currently have an outdoor dining setup must apply by August 3 or remove their non-compliant setups by that deadline. NYC DOT is currently running advertisements via LinkNYC, at bus shelters, and on social media platforms. Over the next several weeks, DOT and SBS will host multiple webinars, community engagement, and five-borough door-to-door outreach in concert with Chambers of Commerce, Business Improvement Districts, and other merchants associations. This campaign aims to inform all restaurants, whether they participated in the temporary outdoor dining program or not, about the application process for the permanent Dining Out NYC program.

"Restaurants are crucial to Queens. Like many other small businesses, they help drive the economy, create jobs, and bring investments to our communities," said Congresswoman Grace Meng. "That is why I'm thrilled to have secured this vital funding to help them succeed. These free dining setups will help dozens of restaurants in our borough grow and thrive, while allowing the public to continue to enjoy outdoor dining. Queens is the World's Borough, home to restaurants serving some of the best food in our city and across the globe, and I cannot wait to see more people taking advantage of the great culinary choices our restaurants have to offer through these new dining setups. Bon appétit!"

"As we kick off the first season of the city's permanent outdoor dining program, I want to extend my gratitude to Congresswoman Meng for helping 60 restaurants in her district jumpstart their participation in the program," said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. "We share a belief in how beneficial this program can be to both restaurant owners and their communities, drawing even more people to our commercial corridors and fortifying small business growth in our hospitality industry citywide. Restaurants, if you haven't already, get your application in by August 3rd!"

"We've said from day one that the nation's largest permanent outdoor dining program must be accessible and equitable. Today, with thanks to Congresswoman Meng and our Federal partners, we are walking the walk — before the program even goes into full effect," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. "The restaurants participating today are doing a civic duty, helping us study barrier options that will be cheaper and easier to install for restaurants citywide. As Queens dines al fresco, so too will all of NYC."

"What better place to celebrate the diversity of our city's culinary offerings than in the heart of Queens, where 60 small businesses will get the benefit of free outdoor dining setups that adhere to the new rules and prove that the next generation of outdoor dining will be a true five-borough experience," said Chief Public Realm Officer Ya-Ting Liu. "Thank you, Congresswoman Meng and all our federal partners, for your leadership, and helping New York City scale the nation's biggest permanent outdoor dining program in a way that works for small businesses and all of New York."

"Queens is one of the world's premiere culinary capitals. Outdoor dining has not only provided a fresh experience that attracts new customers, but it has also boosted the bottom line for restaurants and continues to grow our economy," said SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. "We are grateful for Congresswoman Grace Meng's continued advocacy for local small businesses as we open our commercial corridors to a vital revenue boost. This funding will support 60 Queens restaurants and set the stage for small businesses across all boroughs to embrace outdoor dining as we head into 2025."

"Don't delay, apply today! Restaurants with outdoor dining setups have until August 3rd to apply for Dining Out NYC or remove their setups," said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodríguez. "Thanks to the leadership of Congresswoman Meng, it is even easier for restaurants in New York's sixth congressional district to participate in the program and for the district's residents to enjoy everything that outdoor dining offers."

Designed by prefabrication businesses available in the Dining Out NYC marketplace, including ShowFab, ModStreet, and Chair Up, each of the roadway cafes are comprised of modular, durable, and easily customizable features that comply with Dining Out NYC requirements.

The ModStreet/ChairUp installation at Fabrika is built using a steel framing system, overhead covering, and a narrow barrier with a tight mesh infill panel, which provides increased space for seating — a great feature for this small restaurant frontage.

The ShowFab installation at Mojitos features a water-filled barrier contained within an easily customized frame. The barrier also includes an overhead covering to create a beautiful setting for diners. Modular in construction and with durable finishes, this setup is built to last year after year.

A third Marketplace vendor, Sure Iron Works, will install their design at another District 6 restaurant later this summer. This structure features a modular steel construction with reinforced concrete infill panels compliant with Dining Out NYC requirements. A unique modular roof and easy to level flooring system complete this design.

Finally, the city is continuing its work with WXY and SITU Fabrication to develop a custom water-filled barrier design that will be installed at the Queensboro later this summer. This approach to a water-filled barrier will provide restaurants across the city with access to a safe, cost effective, and aesthetically pleasing solution for roadway cafes.

Example of a ModStreet/ChairUp-produced roadside installation
Example of a ModStreet/ChairUp-produced roadside installation
Example of ShowFab-produced roadside installation
Example of ShowFab-produced roadside installation
Example of Sure Iron Works-produced roadside installation
Example of Sure Iron Works-produced roadside installation
Example of a WXY/SITU-produced water-filled barrier designs
Example of a WXY/SITU-produced water-filled barrier designs

The nation's largest outdoor dining program includes both roadway and sidewalk cafes — and will come at reduced cost for every restaurant participating across the five boroughs. An optional 'Dining Out NYC Setup Menu' offers customizable but out-of-the-box design setups for restaurants to use to adhere quickly, easily, and aesthetically to program rules. The setup menu is optional; an interactive setup guide is available here.

Restaurants must demolish their existing sheds by August; the 2025 dining season begins next Spring, when New Yorkers will begin to see new models that are more pest-resistant and improve sight lines on the streets appear.

About the Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
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