PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s restaurant industry is asking for more clarity from city officials about their reopening. Many will not be able to offer indoor seating until Aug. 1, at the earliest.
The Bourse Food Hall is still closed for indoor dining. They were planning on reopening on Friday, but those plans were pulled back because of the city’s orders.
Now, restaurants are asking for some leadership from the city.
“Some planning needs to go into thinking about how this industry can be saved and be helped over the long run,” Harper’s Garden owner Avram Hornik said.
Restaurants are fighting for their survival. Like every restaurant in Philadelphia, Harper’s Garden in Center City can only offer outdoor seating and while the federal stimulus bought businesses some time, they’re now asking about what happens next.
“We’re going to stay the course,” Hornik said, “but we don’t know how long this is going to last.”
Ken Silver is the owner of Jim’s Steaks on South Street. They chose to not offer takeout and just reopened after closing in mid-April.
“We haven’t overcome any of the barriers,” Silver said. “We just closed down.”
Before closing, they were making 500 cheesesteaks per night, but now, they’re making about 30% of that.
“50% of our business is visitors and tourists,” Silver said, “and, of course, there aren’t any visitors right now. However, we’ve been pleasantly surprised. The street is very active.”
Back in Old City, business is picking up as well. The Bourse Food Hall is seeing more tenants and more people.
“We had about six tenants in the beginning and then as businesses got a little more comfortable with what was going on, a few of them would open up every few weeks,” Marketplace Manager Victoria Greer said.
But Freebyrd Chicken has been operating throughout the pandemic. They say it helped that they were already set up for takeout orders.
“It’s definitely good to see people, customers, other venders coming back,” owner Ryan Burke said.
In the coming days, they plan on expanding the patio in front of the Bourse Food Hall so they can accommodate more people.