As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the United States, restaurants have been placed in a difficult situation, with many having to offer executive service only or even closing. However, with the pandemic came a positive side in the form of Open Streets programs. Local and city governments, as in New York City, have cut off traffic on certain streets and, in some cases, have allowed restaurants to open to customers outside the confines of their buildings and set up stores on nearby sidewalks and streets. The initiative has generally been very popular, according to a survey by Transportation Alternatives, and in New York City, for example, the ability for restaurants to open on these “streets” will become permanent as of 2023, according to the New York City Department of Transportation. . The Alfresco NYC Alliance recently announced the winners of the first Alfresco Awards, which are given to restaurants that have benefited from the program and made use of their outdoor spaces. “The winners all provide true how-to guides for how outdoor and street dining can be implemented at its best,” said Tom Wright, President of the Regional Planning Association, one of the sponsors of the awards program, in a press release. Read below about some of the winners: Blend Astoria Optional Caption Courtesy of Blend Astoria This Latin American staple in Queens creates a complete outdoor experience, with seamless design and color coordination dramatically enhancing the ambiance at the corner of 30th Street and 38th St. Peaches Kitchen and Bar, optional caption Courtesy of Peaches Kitchen and Bar The Peaches Restaurant in Brooklyn uses reclaimed plastics made in construction bottles for a stylish, sustainable aesthetic. Next steps include sustainable energy sources as well as air exchange. Kokomo Optional Caption Courtesy of Kokomo, photo by Clay Williams, New York Times Located in Brooklyn, Kokomo’s seventh iteration of its exoskeleton transports diners to the Caribbean while providing improved wheelchair access, warm lighting, moving banquettes, and a variety of seating. Vinum Optional Caption Courtesy of Vinum In Staten Island, an area with a few restaurants open, Italian spot Vinum offers an elegant, rustic wood exterior aesthetic to match the restaurant’s interior that aligns neatly with the sidewalk and slope of the street. Optional Empire Diner Caption Courtesy of Empire Diner With an efficient seating arrangement and slim design, this Manhattan restaurant’s outdoor dining area is accessible and takes up little space without feeling crowded. The optional Casa La Femme Caption by Casa La Femme This Egyptian restaurant in Manhattan is superior in design and decor, using real plants and elements of its indoor dining style to create a relaxing and luxurious al fresco dining experience. Boogie Down Grind, an optional caption by Boogie Down Grind featuring a “subway car” design, the South Bronx Café hosts free community events featuring local artists and is a major effort in an area with few open restaurants. This story has been updated with a new image of the Boogie Down Grind.