New York restaurants continue to struggle despite strong recovery in US

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New York restaurants are still struggling to attract diners, with reservations down more than 30 percent compared to 2019 — even as much of the nation shows strong signs of recovery, according to new data.

Eateries in Florida, Maine, Nevada and other states all saw more diners on Memorial Day than they did in pre-pandemic 2019 — while the number of restaurant-goers in New York state remained 34 percent lower, according to data from restaurant booking and monitoring site OpenTable.

And it was even worse in the Big Apple with 53 percent fewer diners on Monday than on the same day two years ago, the data shows.

The lackluster recovery comes even as more than 57 percent of the Empire State’s adult population is vaccinated and daily COVID numbers continue to hit fresh lows.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Connecticut and New Jersey, diners flocked back to their favorite spots.

The Nutmeg State saw 50 percent more restaurant bookings on Memorial Day this year than on the same day in 2019, while the Garden State saw 29 percent more diners, according to the OpenTable data.

When it comes to city-specific data, Milwaukee, Seattle and St. Louis all join the Big Apple, as restaurant-goers continue to stay away, according to OpenTable’s data.

Cities such as Miami, Las Vegas and San Antonio, however, are enjoying more dining traffic than they did before the pandemic.

Over the last week nationwide, eateries saw activity pick back up to an average of just 3 percent lower than 2019 levels, according to the data — bolstering the overall view that Americans are emerging from the pandemic ready to spend.

That’s a drastic spike from the same week last year, when restaurants across the country saw 84 percent fewer diners than in pre-pandemic times, according to the data.

OpenTable said the data doesn’t account for changes in the number of restaurants, such as all those that closed during the pandemic.

But even as restaurants see demand beginning to swell, they’re facing a few new challenges. The cost of labor, food and supplies are all rising amid inflationary pressures, spurring many restaurants to raise prices on the menu. 

“If we’re getting squeezed there’s only two ways to handle it, either cut costs or raise prices, there’s no alternatives really,” Hakan Swahn, the owner of Midtown’s Aquavit, told The Post Monday.

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