STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Staten Island Mall is officially reopened for business Wednesday after closing in March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and no trip to the New Springville shopping center would be complete without grabbing some grub from the food court.
Unfortunately, indoor dining in New York City is still prohibited, though Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that it will return with 25% capacity and other strict restrictions on Sept. 30.
Until then, and likely for some time after, Staten Island Mall customers can enjoy a new outdoor dining area that’s just a few quick steps from the food court, where many eateries have reopened for take-out service, with all indoor seating currently blocked off.
“We basically took a bunch of what’s called Grizzly Grass and we put it down out here. Then we spread out a bunch of tables. We put up some lights, and we’ve got some banners coming in soon to block out the wind,” said Jim Easley, general manager of the Staten Island Mall.
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After retrieving their food from one of the open food court options — such as Sarku Japan, Green Leaf’s, Charley’s Philly Steaks, Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A or Popeye’s — customers can walk down the hallway near Dave & Buster’s and emerge onto a recently constructed outdoor dining area on the second floor of the Mall parking garage.
The outdoor dining area, which currently seats about 60 diners, with additional room to expand capacity as needed, is expected to remain open through the end of 2020, even with reduced capacity indoor dining returning at the end of the month.
“We are prepared to keep this thing open through the end of year, but after that it’s going to get a little cold and I’m not sure people are going to want to be dining outside in January,” Easley said.