The most overlooked borough finally has the upper hand over the rest of the city. Staten Island is opening New York City’s first-ever modern drive-in theater — and not a moment too soon, either. With restaurant dining rooms closed for the foreseeable future, Juicy Lucy Barbecue in Ocean Breeze will launch what owner Richie Holmes is caling “Juicy Lucy Tailgate Community BBQ.”
The idea behind the event is simple: For $25 per vehicle, customers arrive at Holmes’ three-acre plot of land, order from the restaurant (servers deliver the meal to the car), and settle in to enjoy the movie outdoors at a safe distance from other patrons. The menu includes burgers, brisket, cornbread, pulled pork, prime rib, and barbecue chicken.
While people are still discouraged from gathering in large groups, experts agree that crowds are much safer in the open air.
Holmes said that he plans to install the LED screen for showing movies on June 9, and he already has the first title lined up — Star Wars: A New Hope. Opening night is planned for Friday, June 12. To make the events even more family friendly, Holmes also plans to screen cartoons at showings earlier in the day, which will probably be a relief to parents who are looking for pretty much any excuse to get their kids out of the house.
Holmes said he got the idea in April, when he realized he would have to get creative if he wanted to keep his business afloat. That’s a mindset many restaurant owners share: Some plan to erect plastic shields to encourage social distancing, while one chef in Virginia plans to fill his dining room with mannequins to make it look more full.
“I’m trying to get as many people out of the house. It gets them out into the fresh air. Obviously I’ll try to get some business going at the same time,” Holmes told Staten Island Live.
With heroes like Holmes planning ways to make leaving home for good food and quality time with our families safe again, maybe summer might be salvageable after all.