Bubble Craze Spreads to More Restaurants

Enter the bubble at Lucciola.

We’ve all been living in bubbles for months, and now our metaphorical isolation is becoming a real phenomenon at local restaurants — bubbles are hot new seating structures at multiple Upper West Side joints.

The first one to get publicity for the craze was Cafe du Soleil on Broadway and 104th Street. Our story about those bubbles was followed by similar pieces in national and even international outlets.

Others are getting into bubbles too. At Lucciola, an Italian spot on 90th and Amsterdam, a large bubble (above) has also been attracting diners. They got it on Amazon and it has the fancy-sounding name of Alvantor Winter Screen House Room. Description: “Featuring excellent warmth retention, water-proof, wind-resistant and PVC allows for a warm and relaxing outdoor space for you and your family on rainy, snowy & windy days. Best transparent room to enjoy garden, backyards, travel, parties, afternoon tea, picnic or meetings.” Lucciola says they thoroughly sanitize the bubble between parties. And they say they only seat one group in it per night.

Even the pup!

And E’s Bar at 511 Amsterdam and 85th has a somewhat smaller one too. “We are wiping down with disinfectant and spraying Lysol between,” owner Erin Bellard wrote to us.

FOOD, NEWS | 35 comments | permalink
    1. ZoomZ says:

      The bubble at Lucciola looks (and may feel) like being inside a condom.

    2. HealthCocern says:

      What’s the point of the bubble, you’re just enclosing all the germs inside. Next batch of people to sit will get a nice helping of previous occupant’s germs. Unless they’re fog bombing with disinfectants each turnover.

    3. ben says:

      Throw in a space heater or two and you are set for outdoor dining in the winter time!

      • lynn says:

        A space heater inside of a plastic bubble covered in flammable disinfectant? Nothing about this is right.

    4. MB/UWSer says:

      Hmmm, I wonder about this defying common sense. One detail of COVID-19 how contagious the virus is when in tight spaces. Who has gone before me? And who might come after me?

      I’ll wait for the honest reviews.

    5. Dining Out says:

      Stopped eating outside because I didn’t want to eat with other people’s dogs. The bubble may serve two purposes for those of us who want to eat out without being pestered by pets.

    6. Mark says:

      What’s the difference in eating in these confined bubbles versus inside the restaurant? None!

      It proves how absurd all of this has become. It’s laughable. Open the damn restaurants already and give these business owners a chance.

    7. CrankyPants says:

      After walking by Lucciola for years, we finally tried it out for dinner the other night when all our usual favorites were full. The service and wine list were extraordinary. The atmosphere was charming. But….. Every bite of both our dinners and salads were simply terrible! Unbelievably so. Has anyone else had the same experience there?

      • Kippervasser says:

        I’ve had several meals (always ordering a pasta) at Lucciola in the past year and they were delicious. Sorry that you picked what must have been an off night.

      • NRNYC says:

        I have eaten there three times and the food was very bland each time. Disappointing because it’s such a lovely place as you say.

      • UWS Dad says:

        Unfortunately so. The atmosphere is one of the nicest in the area but there’s cheaper places on UWS to get bland Italian food, and higher quality places to get expensive Italian food.

      • No good says:

        Couldn’t agree more. I’ve tried it twice and no both times the food was bland and less than medicine. It’s a shame given the space.

    8. UWSHebrew says:

      This has the vibe of the Woody Allen movie “Sleeper” to it. I don’t know why exactly, as I have not seen that movie in 25+ years. But it does.

      • Jo says:

        Well, ‘Sleeper’ is, as far as I’m concerned, one of the top 3 movies to watch repeatedly right now. It fits the entire picture we’re dealing with. (And the bubble reminds you of the bubble-vehicles).

        • UWSHebrew says:

          Thanks Jo! When I was in sixth grade I read Woody Allen’s short stories and I went nuts how wonderful it was. I was obsessed with his movies as a teenager.

    9. GG says:

      If you just re-create “indoor dining” outside I think it defeats the whole purpose, no??

      This isn’t an exercise of outsmarting the rules. I don’t think the virus works that way.

      • Hi there says:

        This exactly. And there is tons of space around that table so what is it even protecting people from? I sure hope that table of 7 all live together or this bubble is actually going to encourage the spread of the virus. This makes absolutely no sense.

        • CH says:

          I think that’s the question.

          If you’re with folks from your own household, then the real issue is making sure it’s clean from previous guests, you’re more protected from others nearby (even if outdoors is much less risky to begin with).

          But if you’re with someone from outside your household, it’s amplifying the issue.

    10. My message to the chef says:

      Next time I go out for dinner won’t be until this coronavirus is completely gone and now I love cooking.
      So….Going out to dinner will be for an occasion and not on a regular basis.

    11. Al says:

      Livin’ in da Covid Bubble!

    12. Not for me... says:

      They predict tonight on CBS NEWS: By December if things do not improve… More than 50% of the restaurants in Manhattan will be gone/out of business. You’re not gonna find me eating on any curb or tent and most of the service is horrendous so my colleagues have told me.
      I’m fine right at home.
      If you haven’t done so already of which I know most of you have, you got a learn to cook. It’s gonna be a cold winter!

      • Kat French says:

        You can’t complain about the restaurants going out of business if you aren’t patronizing them! At least order take-out once in a while. These businesses are struggling and deserve our support. Everyone who is still working should try to support as many local businesses as possible.

    13. D says:

      These are stupid. They trap the virus and moisture in there. I will avoid them at all cost.

    14. Jane says:

      I do particularly love the smell of disinfectant and lysol, especially when eating my fine food in a plastic bubble that is rippling gently in the New York sidewalk breeze. Give your waiter or waitress an extra big tip for squeegeeing and fumigating the interior between each set of customers, as required by science, no doubt.

      • Jo says:

        You omitted mention of the probably off-gassing from the PVC. But frankly, I’d be happy to dine out, period.

    15. Shalom Stavsky says:

      As terrible as the virus is, it brings out human ingenuity and shows that people can adapt to almost anything.

    16. Benda Acevedo says:

      They all look like COVID-friendly areas to me. There’s nothing like the open-air to void the virus..

    17. EGF says:

      How is this any different than indoor dining? Seems even riskier to me. No thanks.

    18. More germs, not fewer says:

      A fabulously efficient way to get COVID…and to look cool while doing it.

    19. Patti says:

      Please stop with the PLASTIC bubbles. There’s nothing wrong with open air dining. Dress appropriately.

    20. ButSeriouslyFolks says:

      And inhaling all that disinfect will kill any virus you might have inhaled. Plus it’s great for people with asthma. To say nothing of enhancing the taste of the food.

    21. Joseph Hanania says:

      When I eat out, as I did today in the West Village, it is always for lunch. And I look for a spot in the sun. The other stuff is secondary.