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Rockwell Group and NYC Hospitality Alliance Expand DineOut NYC Program

Moet Hennessy Joins Effort as a Founding National Partner, along with Resy and American Express as a Founding New York City Partner to Support Community Based Dining

New York, NY – July 27, 2020 – David Rockwell, founder and President of Rockwell Group, the New York-based design and architecture firm, today announced that his firm and the New York City Hospitality Alliance will expand its recently created DineOut NYC initiative to help restaurant operators and communities safely transition to outdoor dining. They have created a new non-profit, a partner project of the Fund for the City of New York, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, to facilitate donations from individuals and businesses interested in assisting operators and communities with the finances needed to build and support outdoor dining spaces.

Moet Hennessy has signed on as a Founding National Partner, along with hospitality technology company Resy and parent company American Express, with additional support provided by The Pershing Square Foundation, Daniel Stern, the co-founder of Reservoir Capital Group, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch and Nina and Tim Zagat.

The first community wide dining area, where multiple restaurants will utilize together the outdoor dining facilities, will be built on Mott Street between Mosco and Worth Streets, followed by a location in Queens. DineOut NYC has worked with the City Department of Transportation and local Business Improvement Districts to identify the areas. 

DineOut NYC was created earlier this summer to advocate for the further use of sidewalks and streets for outdoor dining to help restaurants impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.  To encourage the City to expand outdoor dining, Rockwell Group and the New York City Hospitality Alliance identified six restaurants across the five boroughs to present different types of dining experiences, ultimately creating a kit of adaptable parts that they have made available free of charge on Rockwell Group’s website.  Melba’s Restaurant in Harlem was the first restaurant to open in June to great success, featuring pro bono outdoor dining designs from Rockwell Group.

Thanks to the support of Moet Hennessy as a Founding National Partner and Resy and America Express as a Founding New York City Partner the program will now be expanded to include the first communal dining areas in lower Manhattan and a location in Queens NY.  Participating restaurants will utilize the DineOut NYC installation, which includes tables designed with dividers to ensure safe, socially distant dining.  Rockwell Group is partnering with Transfiguration School with artist Sammi Qu-Kwok and with Think!Chinatown (artist James Chan) on the artwork for the dining installation. Room & Board is providing outdoor furniture.

“Restaurants have never been more important to the vitality of our City,” said David Rockwell, founder and President, Rockwell Group. “In addition to their importance to the local economy, they create a sense of urban vitality by serving neighbors and visitors and attracting people to different parts of the City.  What happens on our sidewalks and streets, we are learning, is critical to how we pull through this as a City. It is a moment for us to rethink the value of urban space and ensure that it is used to the benefit of the City.”

“We have made tremendous progress in a very short period,” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the Hospitality Alliance.  “Thanks to the City and the State we have been able to expand quickly and work with individual restaurant owners to create temporary outdoor dining experiences.  Rockwell Group has helped further create a template for dining that is adaptable for restaurants of all sizes. Now, thanks to the generous support of individuals and businesses, we are able to expand into communities where there is even greater need and provide dining opportunities that are utilized communally by multiple restaurants.”

“David Rockwell and Rockwell Group are giving restaurants like mine in Harlem, and others across the five boroughs, the opportunity to get back on our feet and utilize public space to reopen safely,” said Melba Wilson, President, NYC Hospitality Alliance & Owner, Melba’s Restaurant.  “I am so thankful to welcome guests back to Melba’s, especially our neighbors.  The evolution of DineOut NYC to include community dining designs is an exciting next phase and crucial to reopening so many restaurants that can’t afford to do it themselves.”

Moet Hennessy North America has been very active in supporting the food, beverage and hospitality business since the onset of the pandemic. The company partnered with organizations to provide grants to bartenders and restaurant workers who lost jobs or wages; and worked with others to affect legislation for independent restaurants. Seth Kaufman, President and CEO of Moet Hennessy North America said, “Rockwell Group’s mission to help restaurants open outdoor dining safely is absolutely critical. We share a deep commitment to preserving the health and vitality of this community, whom we consider our family. With our mission of crafting experiences in mind, we are thrilled to be a part of reimagining how we create novel dining experiences in the new normal and, with the visionary design of David and his team, establishing the future of dining on a national scale.”

“Resy and American Express are deeply committed to backing the restaurant industry during this incredibly challenging time by offering our Resy technology to restaurants around the world at no cost, creating new tools that help restaurants deliver safer hospitality, and partnering with organizations that are bringing innovative solutions to the table for restaurants. DineOut NYC is an incredible example of how leaders across the industry are working together to provide much-needed resources to restaurants that want to reopen their doors, but need support to do so. Resy and American Express are proud to partner with the Rockwell Group and New York City Hospitality Alliance in an effort to get restaurants in New York back on their feet,” said Ben Leventhal, VP/GM American Express Global Dining Network.

“Boasting many great restaurants, iconic Mott Street in Chinatown makes a perfect place to expand Mayor de Blasio's Open Street model for Open Restaurants.  In the last few weeks, this popular initiative has enlivened our streets and given a lifeline to a critical sector of the City's economy," said New York City DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We thank the Rockwell Group, the New York City Hospitality Alliance, Wellington Chen and the Chinatown Partnership -- who along with many other partners are spearheading the DineOut NYC initiative.  As the City recovers, this inspired car-free use of our public spaces is showing our city’s true creative spirit."

The New York City Hospitality Alliance and the NYC Department of Transportation worked with the Chinatown Partnership to identify the lower Manhattan location.  The Chinatown Partnership, along with the participating restaurants, will be responsible for maintaining the general area.  Several Queens locations are currently under consideration.

Wellington Z. Chen, Executive Director of Chinatown BID/Partnership said, “We are absolutely delighted that Rockwell Group and the New York City Hospitality Alliance have chosen our historic Chinatown as the recipient of this generous and heart warming meaningful gift to us in these challenging times. On behalf of the community we want to extend our deepest appreciation to everyone involved.”

"Helping historically diverse neighborhoods like Chinatown be part of the recovery process is going to take a lot of creativity and strong community, government, and private partnerships. Restaurants are the heart and soul of Chinatown, but they've been devastated for months due to the pandemic and the xenophobia that has grown with it. Now, thanks to the DineOut NYC initiative, we have an opportunity to dramatically transform and activate Mott Street through an exciting communal outdoor dining design. I am grateful for Rockwell Group, NYC Hospitality Alliance, and all the partners involved in DineOut NYC for their commitment to ensuring that immigrant-run small businesses will be part of the City's comeback story," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin.

Existing DineOut NYC restaurants are in all five boroughs and were selected to reflect various streetscapes for outdoor dining:

  • Manhattan: Melba’s in Harlem
  • Bronx: Ceetay and Hudson Smokehouse in the South Bronx
  • Brooklyn: Negril BK in Park Slope
  • Queens: Pa-Nash in Rosedale
  • Staten Island: The Craft House and Kills Boro Brewing in Tompkinsville

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