Some Center City restaurants find footing, sense of normalcy during restaurant week

Center City District Restaurant Week lasts through January 21.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- On a slightly less frigid evening in the heart of Philadelphia, friends and couples alike could be seen partaking in Center City District Restaurant Week.

On Wednesday night, some restaurants finally saw some traffic after a wet and bitter cold start to the week.

"It didn't help things much for the outside seating, although everything is heated," said Little Nonna's general manager Jack Pearo.

At Little Nonna's, the glowing string lights and heat lamps kept those warm in the courtyard. The main dining room was also buzzing with the chatter of satisfied customers and bubbly.

SEE ALSO: What you need to know about Philly's vaccine indoor dining requirement
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Those looking to dine indoors will now need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in Philadelphia.



So far, the city's recent proof of vaccination mandate has not diminished the turnout.

"I think it's all about your comfort level, whatever you feel is best for you," said customer Joanna Booth.

"We really haven't had any problems with anybody giving us a hard time about it. I think they know it's not our fault, it's just the mandate," Pearo said.

That mandate, in part, is why one couple decided to dine out at Cuba Libre in Old City.

"They check us at the door, that way we can come in here and breathe," explained customer Ilsa Spurill.



Although, Spurill was left breathless during a surprise marriage proposal the same evening.

"I said yes!" she exclaimed to a room that erupted in applause.

The celebratory ambiance added to a sense of normalcy nearly lost in the age of the pandemic.

"We have to survive out here," said Cuba Libre manager Gerald DeVose.

While leaders in the industry realize that perhaps not everyone is on board with policy or mandates, the reality is there's really no other alternative.

"It's kind of a pain in the backside, but it's a necessary evil to kind of get us through. And hopefully by the summertime, this thing will bring itself down and get back to some kind of normalcy again," DeVose said.

As a reminder, if you choose not to disclose your vaccination status, you'll still be able to dine outside.

Center City District Restaurant Week lasts through January 21.
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