“It has been almost a year and a half of challenging times for the Grand Central Oyster Bar,” president Janet Poccia, executive chef Sandy Ingber, and vice president Mohammed Lawal said in a statement. “We relish the opportunity to be of service again, and fill our customers’ hearts, and ours, with joy, and do what we do best – offer an amazing experience to our beloved New Yorkers and to our friends from all over the world. We hope to come back stronger than ever, and with an even bigger desire to serve you.”
The restaurant, which first opened in 1913, had closed during the early days of the pandemic and reopened on September 30th, 2020 when indoor dining at 25% had resumed, giving them 75 seats to work with. (The restaurant had no outdoor dining option, being underground.) But then it shut down on October 9th, 2020, due to a lack of business and foot traffic.
According to the restaurant, they will operate at 100% capacity—including the bar and counter—Mondays through Fridays with COVID safety measures, such as extra space between tables, employee testing, etc. There will also be to-go meals for pickup and delivery within five blocks. The restaurant will require staff and patrons to show proof of vaccination, and guests are asked to wear masks when not eating or drinking.
When Grand Central Oyster Bar had reopened for its brief week and a half last year, one law firm employee/loyal customer had, according to the Wall Street Journal, told his colleagues, “We need to reclaim what’s New York.” But with more companies delaying their return-to-work plans amid rising coronavirus cases and lagging vaccination rates, it’s unclear what the prospects are for businesses supported by their neighborhood’s work populations.