Fridays Under $40: Long Lost Friends

Fridays Under $40: Long Lost Friends

Photo: Sara Graham

In our new Friday column, “Fridays Under $40,” contributor Sara Graham hits the streets to find cheap eats and affordable things to do during these weird times.

We may not be able to get to a Broadway show anytime soon, but we can get some live entertainment and a $4 glass of wine. Where? Puglia. The iconic Italian restaurant is celebrating its 101st year on Hester Street, and though the shout-singing and napkin-waving inside (during pre-COVID times) always had me wondering “wtf is going on in there?,” tonight I’m bringing friends from Brooklyn here. As one-fourth of a double date, Puglia seems like an inexpensive place for our foursome to catch up, with no wait (yes, some places in the LES are indeed booked on weekends) and outdoor seating with plenty of space.

They were one of the last restaurants to reopen in Little Italy. When Phase 3 arrived without indoor dining, their outdoor seating situation popped up, complete with a picket fence, wild flowers and bundles of firewood.

We sit far from other diners and our table features a centerpiece of hand sanitizer and a picture frame with a QR code for patrons unready to touch menus. Our friendly, masked server asks us about drinks and we get a $16 bottle of house white. I can not recommend it, but I can tell you that’s practically nothing when split by 4 people, which means you can go in for the $26 of Beringer Chardonnay if you decide to get another bottle.

We swap self-isolation stories (our…

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