Omicron Update NYC: Brooklyn restaurant 'Sidecar' latest casualty of COVID pandemic

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ByCeFaan Kim via WABC logo
Thursday, January 6, 2022
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CeFaan Kim has more on Sidecar, a restaurant nestled in Park Slope, Brooklyn, that is joining the long list of businesses that have become casualties of the pandemic.

PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A beloved restaurant in Brooklyn is making the difficult decision to close down as a result of the pandemic.

Sidecar is a bit of throwback to family style restaurants.

The restaurant, nestled in Park Slope, is beloved by neighbors and known for their fried chicken, burgers and refreshments.

"It's really about being here, being in this room," Sidecar owner Bart DeCoursy said. "It's a very warm friendly atmosphere. I have staff that have been here for years."

But after 15 years, Sidecar is joining the long list of restaurants that have become casualties of the pandemic.

When the city reopened, DeCoursy had hoped what would follow would be a resurgence of patrons, eager to cherish local restaurants. But it wasn't enough.

And although Sidecar qualified for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, it was not lucky enough to receive the money.

And then they were thrown a side dish of supply chain issues.

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"If your sales are gonna be reduced by about 40% but your costs are only reduced by 20%, it's only harder," DeCoursy said.

When the governor first shut things down at the start of the pandemic and made restaurants to-go only, Sidecar realized in just a week, they were not gonna survive that way.

So, they launched a GoFundMe campaign to pay the staff. They hit that goal in just a week.

Then came the PPP money that helped them stay afloat through most of the pandemic.

But by last fall, DeCoursy knew the end was inevitable.

"You can't love something that doesn't love you back. It was tough. I will admit I was very very tough. I was little heartbroken. I like that my kids eat here," DeCoursy said.

And as New York is set back by omicron and tries to regain its footing once again, Sidecar is far from alone.

That's why on Wednesday, Governor Kathy Hochul threw what is hopefully a lifeline.

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"We're also going to do something bars and restaurants have been asking for. To once again allow the sale of to-go drinks - a critical revenue stream during the lean times last year. Cheers New York," Hochul said.

DeCoursy though isn't so sure how much it would've changed the outcome.

Over time he says, to-go drinks sales had already been drying up.

"Even though we haven't gotten back to normal, people have sort of gone back to normal sort of in the way they think," he said.

But like a true New Yorker, DeCoursy isn't just throwing in the towel.

Sidecar will become a bar, under a new name, named after his grandmother. Keeping it a family style establishment, the way he likes it.

"Quite frankly I can do the bartending myself so I can get my legs going again," DeCoursy said.

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