Restaurant owners protest in NYC to push for indoor dining

Angry restaurant owners rallied in eastern Queens on Thursday, demanding that Gov. Andrew Cuomo allow indoor dining to restart — and arguing they won’t survive the winter without it.

The rally took place in front of the Il Bacco, an Italian restaurant in Little Neck, which sued Cuomo in Manhattan Supreme Court last week over his refusal to allow indoor dining to restart in the Big Apple while giving it the go-ahead in every other part of the state.

The eatery sits near the Long Island border, where New Yorkers have been able to dine indoors with limited capacity for weeks.

“The truth is, if indoor dining doesn’t reopen and we don’t act quickly upon this, the restaurants that have been trying to survive with a few tables on the street corner and a tent, will not sustain the winter and will have to close their doors permanently,” said Tina Marie Oppedisano, the manager of Il Bacco and the owner’s daughter.

“This isn’t just about Il Bacco, it’s about all of us.”

She was joined by roughly five dozen other restauranteurs and politicians, who demanded that Cuomo finally sign off on bringing back indoor eating.

The owner of a local Greek spot, George Sarafoglou, said that outdoor dining simply doesn’t work for the eatery located on Northern Boulevard.

Il Bacco restaurant
Il Bacco restaurant owner Joe Oppedisano and his daughter Tina Maria Oppedisano are seen in front of the restaurant.Dennis A. Clark

“It’s 40 miles-per-hour and we have four tables on the street and people are afraid to sit down,” Sarafoglou told the crowd. “Something has to give. We have to open, even 50 percent. Something has to happen because I don’t see us surviving the winter.”

Several conservative lawmakers on the City Council also appeared at the rally to show their support.

“I guess you could call it a tale of two counties,” said Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens). “On this side of the border, what does the mayor and the governor say? You eat in the street! You eat on the sidewalk!”

Councilman Eric Ulrich
Councilman Eric Ulrich speaks at the protest today.Dennis A. Clark

The owners of Il Bacco, the 28-year-old red sauce joint, argued in court papers they will not survive unless indoor dining restarts and asked for $2 billion in damages.

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