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12 NYC Restaurants “Doing Good” During the COVID-19 Crisis

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This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

New York City has always been a tough place to keep a restaurant afloat, but during the pandemic especially, it’s an extraordinary feat to pay staff, pay rent, and simply get to the other side. Many small business owners have pivoted to delivery, takeout, and more to keep the lights on. And yet despite the challenges facing them, some are not only looking after their team and regular diners, but also providing food to neighbors in need and creating a more equitable food space.

Just a few examples: In Brooklyn, chef Greg Baxtrom opened his restaurant Maison Yaki to the Black Entrepreneur Series. In Manhattan, the family behind Tarallucci e Vino launched Feeding the Front Lines NYC, and the team at Bessou is working with Heart of Dinner. All of the restaurants featured below are balancing community work with business, serving up dishes that offer reminders of just how good the city’s food scene is. You’ll want to swing by for pick-up for sure, and since offerings are constantly changing, check out these restaurants’ latest posts on Facebook or Instagram to see what they’re up to. And when we support small business, we support our communities, so Facebook’s Small Business support hub offers resources for those looking to give or get help.

A number of New York City restaurants have resumed outdoor dining services. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for outdoor dining, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the NYC Health Department’s website. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. FIELDTRIP

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109 Malcolm X Blvd
New York, NY 10026
(917) 639-3919
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Chef JJ Johnson and his team at the rice-focused restaurant in Harlem cooked 30,000 meals for hospitals in upper Manhattan and the Bronx during the pandemic. Recognizing another need, they’ve followed up that work by partnering with Harlem Grown and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to offer 27,000 meals and 2,300 produce boxes to those in need. Diners ordering shrimp bowls with green curry and sticky rice or a BBQ brisket bowl can also contribute to the restaurant’s efforts, which you can learn more about on Facebook.

2. Adda Indian Canteen

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31-31 Thomson Ave
Long Island City, NY 11101
(718) 433-3888
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Since the pandemic hit, the team at critical darling Adda has been making up to 1,500 meals a day for those in need. The restaurant’s also jumped to partner with a slew of nonprofit organizations during the COVID-19 crisis, including World Central Kitchen, NYuplift, and Urban Pathways. In addition, Adda created an option for diners to sponsor a care package for those working at a nearby hospital or community center for $10 a person.

3. Desi Galli

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101 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 375-3900
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Pivoting for the pandemic, Desi Galli now offers finish-at-home dishes for takeout and delivery, and features a DG Pantry selling items ranging from a chilli paneer meal kit to masala chickpeas to baking supplies. Besides satisfying her customers’ “hankering for Indian soul food,” owner PriaVanda Chouhan helps feed essential workers, volunteers her time mentoring and supporting women- and BIPOC-owned businesses, and donates food to the Boys & Girls Clubs of New York City. During the pandemic, “volunteers have come together, including myself, to help our neighbors through any struggle,” she says.

4. Tarallucci e Vino

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15 E 18th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-5400
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In March, Luca Di Pietro and his wife, Kate Felsen Di Pietro, were forced to close four out of five of their restaurants across the city. With the help of a friend and their children, they turned their time and energy toward feeding health care staffers, creating Feed the Frontlines NYC. With the help of restaurants across the city and the The JoyJ Initiative, the project delivered more than 100,000 meals to hospital workers. As the local curve flattened, the family and their team shifted efforts to providing meals to those experiencing food insecurity. Along with Wellness in the Schools, they’re giving food to students, veterans, survivors of domestic violence, and others in need. Today, four of the five restaurants are back up and running with delivery, some with outdoor dining, too.

5. Junzi Kitchen

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170 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012
(646) 864-0277
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Lucas Sin, an Eater Young Gun alum, and his team at fast-casual favorite Junzi have kept a focus on community at their chain. In addition to feeding health care workers and staff at local nonprofits like the Center for Urban Community Service, Junzi launched Pantry Essentials and donated a month’s worth of its earnings to nonprofits fighting inequality and food insecurity. There’s always something going on here, so check Junzi’s Facebook page to stay updated.

6. west~bourne

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137 Sullivan St
New York, NY 10012
(347) 534-3050
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Community work is nothing new for the team at this California-inspired Soho restaurant. The restaurant has a longstanding relationship with the Robin Hood Foundation, and a portion of sales benefit The Door, which offers hospitality training to young New Yorkers. During the pandemic, owner Camilla Marcus co-founded Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants, or ROAR, which raised more than $1 million for restaurant relief. About her own restaurant, she says: “We are committed to engaging meaningfully in order to support our community, and those beyond, as best we can, while always maintaining the safety of our team and our guests as the ultimate priority.” Earlier in the pandemic, her team also paired up with Melanie Dunea on #treatshelp, which donated hundreds of sweets to essential workers. Today, the team is supplying food to community fridges for protestors and others in need.

7. Bessou

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5 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 228-8502
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“We started getting involved in relief meals right away,” explains Bessou owner Maiko Kyogoku. The Japanese comfort food restaurant started their work with the nonprofit Off Their Plate, cooking 700 to 900 meals weekly for health care workers. As the summer continued, they transitioned to working with Project Bento and Heart of Dinner to provide meals like soba noodles and pork belly miso stew to members of the homebound elderly Asian community.

8. Kopitiam

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151 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002
(646) 609-3785
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Kopitiam co-owner Moonlynn Tsai has kept busy during the pandemic. Her hit LES Malaysian restaurant has prepared more than 14,000 meals for those in need since the pandemic started. Those meals were first distributed to health care workers and are now, with Rethink Food NYC, given to food-insecure populations. Tsai and her romantic partner Yin Chang also run Heart of Dinner. Their #LovingChinatown initiative partners with restaurants like Bessou, Saigon Social, Golden Diner, and others to provide meals and groceries to homebound seniors in and near Manhattan’s Chinatown.

9. Golden Diner

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123 Madison St
New York, NY 10002
(917) 472-7800
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During tough times, the team at Chinatown favorite Golden Diner has worked on numerous projects that give back, from a local raffle in collaboration with Welcome to Chinatown to an auction for a private party in 2021, when the world will hopefully be a safer place. These initiatives have raised funds for The Okra Project, Black Voters Matter, and other nonprofits. The team is also working with Off Their Plates, which provided meals to health care workers early in the pandemic and is now making meals for the food-insecure.

10. Sol Sips

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276 Knickerbocker Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 872-7077
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Eater Young Gun alum Francesca Chaney and her team at Sol Sips split their time between operating the plant-based restaurant and running the mutual aid initiative Black Supper. Two Sundays a month, the team prepares meals for the Black community — distributing food, beverages, and seeds to plant from the restaurant’s home base in Bushwick, and at vigils and protests.

11. Maison Yaki

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Read Review |
626 Vanderbilt Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(718) 552-2609
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Down the block and across the street from his first restaurant, Olmsted, Baxtrom has opened Maison Yaki to Black food and beverage professionals for the Black Entrepreneur Series. “Someone out there needs good PR,” Baxtrol told us. “I can just give a restaurant to these talented individuals that are overlooked, quite frankly.” Every couple of weeks, someone new takes over the space to host a pop-up. Recent editions include one from chef Jared Howard of Honey Bunny’s Chicken. His menu featured biscuits, oyster mushroom po’ boys, and, as the name would imply, chicken. Pickup is available at the restaurant’s to-go window. 

12. Olmsted

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659 Vanderbilt Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(718) 552-2610
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When the pandemic struck New York City, Baxtrom pivoted quickly at Olmsted: He partnered with The LEE Initiative and Maker’s Mark to turn the restaurant into a relief center. Laid-off restaurant workers could swing by and pick up dinners to go, along with toiletries and non-perishable items. To date, Baxtrom and his team have packed more than 20,000 meals and counting. Meanwhile, their private dining room is now operating as Olmsted Trading Post, which sells to-go cocktails, provisions like duck rillette, and snacks including togarashi popcorn. “Now we’re at a point where, thank God, we’re busy, we’re starting to get into a groove,” Baxtrom added.

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

1. FIELDTRIP

109 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10026

Chef JJ Johnson and his team at the rice-focused restaurant in Harlem cooked 30,000 meals for hospitals in upper Manhattan and the Bronx during the pandemic. Recognizing another need, they’ve followed up that work by partnering with Harlem Grown and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to offer 27,000 meals and 2,300 produce boxes to those in need. Diners ordering shrimp bowls with green curry and sticky rice or a BBQ brisket bowl can also contribute to the restaurant’s efforts, which you can learn more about on Facebook.

109 Malcolm X Blvd
New York, NY 10026

2. Adda Indian Canteen

31-31 Thomson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
Read Review |

Since the pandemic hit, the team at critical darling Adda has been making up to 1,500 meals a day for those in need. The restaurant’s also jumped to partner with a slew of nonprofit organizations during the COVID-19 crisis, including World Central Kitchen, NYuplift, and Urban Pathways. In addition, Adda created an option for diners to sponsor a care package for those working at a nearby hospital or community center for $10 a person.

31-31 Thomson Ave
Long Island City, NY 11101

3. Desi Galli

101 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

Pivoting for the pandemic, Desi Galli now offers finish-at-home dishes for takeout and delivery, and features a DG Pantry selling items ranging from a chilli paneer meal kit to masala chickpeas to baking supplies. Besides satisfying her customers’ “hankering for Indian soul food,” owner PriaVanda Chouhan helps feed essential workers, volunteers her time mentoring and supporting women- and BIPOC-owned businesses, and donates food to the Boys & Girls Clubs of New York City. During the pandemic, “volunteers have come together, including myself, to help our neighbors through any struggle,” she says.

101 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016

4. Tarallucci e Vino

15 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

In March, Luca Di Pietro and his wife, Kate Felsen Di Pietro, were forced to close four out of five of their restaurants across the city. With the help of a friend and their children, they turned their time and energy toward feeding health care staffers, creating Feed the Frontlines NYC. With the help of restaurants across the city and the The JoyJ Initiative, the project delivered more than 100,000 meals to hospital workers. As the local curve flattened, the family and their team shifted efforts to providing meals to those experiencing food insecurity. Along with Wellness in the Schools, they’re giving food to students, veterans, survivors of domestic violence, and others in need. Today, four of the five restaurants are back up and running with delivery, some with outdoor dining, too.

15 E 18th St
New York, NY 10003

5. Junzi Kitchen

170 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012

Lucas Sin, an Eater Young Gun alum, and his team at fast-casual favorite Junzi have kept a focus on community at their chain. In addition to feeding health care workers and staff at local nonprofits like the Center for Urban Community Service, Junzi launched Pantry Essentials and donated a month’s worth of its earnings to nonprofits fighting inequality and food insecurity. There’s always something going on here, so check Junzi’s Facebook page to stay updated.

170 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012

6. west~bourne

137 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

Community work is nothing new for the team at this California-inspired Soho restaurant. The restaurant has a longstanding relationship with the Robin Hood Foundation, and a portion of sales benefit The Door, which offers hospitality training to young New Yorkers. During the pandemic, owner Camilla Marcus co-founded Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants, or ROAR, which raised more than $1 million for restaurant relief. About her own restaurant, she says: “We are committed to engaging meaningfully in order to support our community, and those beyond, as best we can, while always maintaining the safety of our team and our guests as the ultimate priority.” Earlier in the pandemic, her team also paired up with Melanie Dunea on #treatshelp, which donated hundreds of sweets to essential workers. Today, the team is supplying food to community fridges for protestors and others in need.

137 Sullivan St
New York, NY 10012

7. Bessou

5 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012

“We started getting involved in relief meals right away,” explains Bessou owner Maiko Kyogoku. The Japanese comfort food restaurant started their work with the nonprofit Off Their Plate, cooking 700 to 900 meals weekly for health care workers. As the summer continued, they transitioned to working with Project Bento and Heart of Dinner to provide meals like soba noodles and pork belly miso stew to members of the homebound elderly Asian community.

5 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012

8. Kopitiam

151 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

Kopitiam co-owner Moonlynn Tsai has kept busy during the pandemic. Her hit LES Malaysian restaurant has prepared more than 14,000 meals for those in need since the pandemic started. Those meals were first distributed to health care workers and are now, with Rethink Food NYC, given to food-insecure populations. Tsai and her romantic partner Yin Chang also run Heart of Dinner. Their #LovingChinatown initiative partners with restaurants like Bessou, Saigon Social, Golden Diner, and others to provide meals and groceries to homebound seniors in and near Manhattan’s Chinatown.

151 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002

9. Golden Diner

123 Madison St, New York, NY 10002

During tough times, the team at Chinatown favorite Golden Diner has worked on numerous projects that give back, from a local raffle in collaboration with Welcome to Chinatown to an auction for a private party in 2021, when the world will hopefully be a safer place. These initiatives have raised funds for The Okra Project, Black Voters Matter, and other nonprofits. The team is also working with Off Their Plates, which provided meals to health care workers early in the pandemic and is now making meals for the food-insecure.

123 Madison St
New York, NY 10002

10. Sol Sips

276 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Eater Young Gun alum Francesca Chaney and her team at Sol Sips split their time between operating the plant-based restaurant and running the mutual aid initiative Black Supper. Two Sundays a month, the team prepares meals for the Black community — distributing food, beverages, and seeds to plant from the restaurant’s home base in Bushwick, and at vigils and protests.

276 Knickerbocker Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237

11. Maison Yaki

626 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Read Review |

Down the block and across the street from his first restaurant, Olmsted, Baxtrom has opened Maison Yaki to Black food and beverage professionals for the Black Entrepreneur Series. “Someone out there needs good PR,” Baxtrol told us. “I can just give a restaurant to these talented individuals that are overlooked, quite frankly.” Every couple of weeks, someone new takes over the space to host a pop-up. Recent editions include one from chef Jared Howard of Honey Bunny’s Chicken. His menu featured biscuits, oyster mushroom po’ boys, and, as the name would imply, chicken. Pickup is available at the restaurant’s to-go window. 

626 Vanderbilt Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238

12. Olmsted

659 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

When the pandemic struck New York City, Baxtrom pivoted quickly at Olmsted: He partnered with The LEE Initiative and Maker’s Mark to turn the restaurant into a relief center. Laid-off restaurant workers could swing by and pick up dinners to go, along with toiletries and non-perishable items. To date, Baxtrom and his team have packed more than 20,000 meals and counting. Meanwhile, their private dining room is now operating as Olmsted Trading Post, which sells to-go cocktails, provisions like duck rillette, and snacks including togarashi popcorn. “Now we’re at a point where, thank God, we’re busy, we’re starting to get into a groove,” Baxtrom added.

659 Vanderbilt Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238

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