January 29, 2022

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Sardi’s, Broadway’s iconic watering gap, is again, simply in time for Omicron present closures.

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It felt form of like outdated instances, the opposite evening at Sardi’s.

Joe Petrsoric, again in his acquainted purple jacket, was lining up martini glasses on the second flooring bar the place he has labored since arriving from Yugoslavia in 1972. Manning the entrance door, his conventional darkish swimsuit now accessorized with a face masks, was Max Klimavicius, who began working within the kitchen in 1974 after immigrating from Colombia; he now runs the place.

It had been 648 days since Sardi’s, a watering gap so carefully entwined with Broadway that it was name-checked within the Rodgers and Hart music “The Girl Is a Tramp,” final served its cannelloni au gratin. And now, on the lengthy evening of the winter solstice, the oft-imperiled Primary Stem mainstay with caricature-covered partitions was ready to try again.

The timing is nerve-racking. The Omicron variant is rampaging via New York Metropolis, wreaking havoc within the theater trade.

There have been 33 Broadway exhibits scheduled to carry out Dec. 21, which Mr. Klimavicius selected for a tender reopening with restricted hours, a restricted menu and lowered capability. However so many actors and crew members at the moment are testing optimistic for the coronavirus that solely 18 exhibits really took the stage that evening, and a type of made it to curtain solely as a result of the playwright grabbed a script and went on to exchange an ailing performer.

“The place has to stay,” mentioned Mr. Klimavicius, who greeted prospects just like the long-lost associates a lot of them had been, but in addition helped ensure they’d proof of vaccination. “It’s a part of the material.”

The restaurant is a mixture of Broadway commissary and vacationer magnet. Because it reopened, the producer Arthur Whitelaw, who nonetheless remembers a childhood go to to Sardi’s greater than seven many years in the past (his dad and mom had been taking him to a brand new musical known as “Oklahoma!”), settled into a comfy nook from which he may survey the room. Just a few tables away sat 4 associates from The Villages, the fast-growing retirement group in Florida, who had been on the town to see “To Kill a Mockingbird” on their annual Broadway journey.

Early within the pandemic, Mr. Klimavicius, like many, had his doubts — theater was darkish, Midtown was useless, every thing appeared unsure. However this June, buoyed by $4.5 million from the federal authorities’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund, he started overhauling the house — redoing the kitchen, the gasoline strains, the air flow, and the wiring, amongst different issues — hoping to modernize it in a manner that nobody would discover. Individuals who love Sardi’s are, to place it mildly, change-averse.

“I used to be involved after I heard ‘renovation’,” mentioned Andrea Ezagui, a Sardi’s common from Lengthy Island, who confirmed up at 4 p.m. — the second it reopened — and instantly repaired to the bar upstairs, the place she celebrated with champagne and associates. “They saved it the best way it needs to be,” she mentioned, “a bit piece of heaven on Broadway.”

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