When Granny Annie’s took up the task of building a family restaurant in Riverwalk Commons, it was spring 2019. The usual challenges were enough to keep most of us awake at night, but then, 2020 arrived.
By David Stone
An instant hit, Granny Annie’s opened in the summer of 2020, after Governor Andrew Cuomo loosened coronavirus restrictions, allowing outdoor dining. Infection rates were down, and by autumn, limited indoor meals returned too.
Roosevelt Island‘s Riverwalk Commons took on renewed vitality.
As a mild autumn turned slowly toward winter, tables lining the front filled on weekend afternoons. Buses dropped off passengers at the curb out front, and riders joined dog walkers and others relaxing in the commons nearby.
But dark clouds gathered, then thickened. Because of several factors, COVID-19 infection rates swelled. Soon, the state shut down indoor dining again, and cold weather threatened taking away much of the rest.
Dark clouds, then a perfect storm for Granny Annie’s…
If anyone wanted to put a curse on Granny Annie’s, they’d have a hard time beating the gauntlet of opening a business in New York City while the coronavirus sickened tens of thousands, but surprisingly, the restaurant’s beating the odds.
The owners have what we call “grit,” an essential ingredient for New York survival.
While established New York restaurants announce permanent closings daily, Roosevelt Island’s newcomer plans outdoor dining reopening in February.
Recent weeks saw overhead coverings stretched out, and plexiglass now rebuffs winds straying in gusts across the common.
But the upsets are relentless.
- Quick hit: New York City passes a million vaccinated milestone while Roosevelt Island infection rate stays low
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Because Granny Annie’s wasn’t fully open on March 1st, last year, the Raising the NYS Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund denied them a grant for PPE.
And reopening outdoor dining, this month, stalled because heating equipment wasn’t delivered on time.
But having jumped so many hurdles, Granny Annie’s is determined to welcome back hungry patrons soon, and locals aren’t likely to soon forget how a new neighbor stuck with it.
The promise of feeding Roosevelt Island, inside and out, will be kept.
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