Empire Diner's diner within a diner was one of the two winners in Manhattan. (Image: Alfresco NYC)

It was only a matter of time before someone would dream up an award for the most creative solution by New York restaurants devising outdoor seating alternatives during the pandemic. With the recent rise in case numbers thanks to the Delta variant of COVID, these considerations may prove useful for more than just aesthetic reasons.

The awards are the brainchild of Alfresco NYC, a wing of the Regional Plan Association. Here are the winners for 2021 (let’s hope there’s no need to extend the contest to 2022):

Empire Diner and Casa La Femme in Manhattan; Kokomo and  Peaches Kitchen and Bar in Brooklyn; Boogie Down Grind in The Bronx; Blend Astoria in Queens; and Vinum in Staten Island. In addition, winners for best open streets include 34th Avenue in Queens; Piazza di Belmont in The Bronx; TAMA Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn; and Stapleton Saturdays in Staten Island. Maiden Korea and Assembly for Chinatown, both in Manhattan, won for outstanding collaborations.

More on the winners and explanations for their choices can be found at the RPA’s website.

A partial slide show follows:

Maiden Korea

Peaches Kitchen

Boogie Down Grind

34th Avenue (Open Street)