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BK's Peaches Kitchen and Bar, TAMA Sundays Named Two of City’s Best for Outdoor Dining, Open Streets

The restaurant and open streets initiatives received two of the 11 inaugural Alfresco awards celebrating the best of NYC
TAMA Sundays open streets program helped Bed-Stuy small businesses get through the pandemic. Photo: Supplied.

Bed-Stuy brought home the awards in the city's inaugural Alfresco NYC competition, celebrating the best of the five boroughs' outdoor dining and open streets programs.

Peaches Kitchen and Bar was one of seven restaurants awarded for its outdoor dining program, with judges saying, "the Black-owned restaurant used reclaimed plastics made into building block bottles for a stylish and sustainable aesthetic. The next steps include sustainable power sources as well as air exchange."

And just up the block TAMA Sundays was one of four awardees for its weekly open streets program on Tompkins Ave.

"Putting community first, the Tompkins Avenue Merchants Association (TAMA) coordinates with small businesses and community members to enhance business and foot traffic on the Tompkins Avenue Open Street from Gates Avenue to Halsey Avenue," the judges wrote.

A stall at TAMA Sundays open streets program. Photo: Supplied.

NYC's Open Restaurants Program includes more than 11,000 restaurants, including nearly 6,000 that have set up shop along 60 miles of car-free streets.

While Open Restaurants is popular with New Yorkers, it tends to be concentrated in wealthier neighborhoods, the group behind the Alfresco NYC competition said, adding that the awards celebrated small businesses and community efforts in all neighborhoods to support permanent programs.

The coalition behind the awards, which includes Design Trust for Public Space, the Regional Plan Association, and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, recognized factors such as creative visual style; the use of sustainable materials in dining structure design; and the establishment's accessibility and integration within its neighborhood streetscape when judging. The judges included journalists, restaurant and economic development professionals, and mobility advocates.

The awards were held as the two outdoor programs are establishing themselves as permanent fixtures in the city's streetscape, and the winners will each receive $500 towards their efforts.

Kokomo in Williamsburg was also named one of the winners in the outdoor dining category, along with Boogie Down Grind in the Bronx, Blend Astoria in Queens, Vinum on Staten Island and Empire Diner in Manhattan.

Tom Wright, president of Regional Plan Association, said the awards were a celebration of outdoor dining and open streets — as well as an acknowledgment of how New Yorkers came together in one of our darkest hours to make our city more sustainable, equitable and accessible.

"We congratulate all of the winners for prevailing in a stiff competition with establishments in every borough that brought creative and innovative designs to life. The winners all provide real guideposts for how outdoor dining and open streets can be implemented at their very best."

Andrew Rigie, executive director of NYC Hospitality Alliance, added that outdoor dining helped save thousands of restaurants throughout the pandemic, and was responsible for them hiring back 100,000 people, while allowing New Yorkers to socialize safely outdoors.

"That's why it's so thrilling that the Alfresco Awards is now recognizing and honoring restaurants throughout the five boroughs that exemplified some of the most creative and sustainable outdoor dining setups that served and beautified our city streets," he said.

In a press release, Bridge Street Development Corporation, which helped to develop TAMA Sundays, said the collaborative effort with Tompkins Avenue Merchants Association had made a "significant contribution to long-going economic development efforts by offering merchants and small business owners the opportunity to promote their businesses in a diverse commercial setting they otherwise may not have had."