Neighborhood Eats: Tacovision gets new vision for colder months ahead in Midtown

MIDTOWN (WABC) -- Seven months ago, the owners of Tacovision were living the dream doing a huge lunch business and employing 40 people. That's all changed since the pandemic.

East 53rd Street in Midtown is lined with outdoor seating options, hoping to recapture some of the energy that used to exist there.

"I've been in this neighborhood owning restaurants now for 12 years in Midtown East and to see it the way it is right now, it's sad," said Brian Owens, Tacovision.

The pandemic has forced Owens to rethink his vision for Tacovision.

Back in February, his lunch rush was jamming. He was serving up creative tacos filled with items like Brussel sprouts or chicken shawarma.

While the menu remains intact, lunch is on hold. The emphasis now is on outdoor dining for dinner.

"This is basically our dining room is outside, so we had to make sure it's winter proofed, literally just installed this yesterday," Owens said.

He's adding a plethora of heaters, but one his of street-side dining structures was knocked over by a garbage truck in the middle of the night. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

However, it speaks to how challenging this is for restaurateurs.

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"Once the weather gets colder, that's the million-dollar question," he said.

Which is why he's also focusing on indoor dining.

"We have installed I wave air filters on every HVAC unit, and we're using MERV 13 filters on top of that," Owens said. "We wanted everyone to come back and feel good about being indoors."

And while he pines for the Midtown clientele, he says there are positives to being on this street.

"We're thriving as a block, that people know they can come to 53rd Street that there are 10-12 restaurants open and that has really helped us," Owens said.

For now, Tacovision is only open during the week for dinner and it's dinner and brunch on the weekends-including a bottomless margarita and endless taco brunch.

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