Financial District rooftop bar turns to the Greenhouse Effect to attract customers

Patrons at Ampia Restaurant and Rooftop on Broad St. in the Financial District may sip one of the bar's signature Street Supreme Mezcalitas at the bar, on a couch, at a table or inside a mini two-person greenhouse.

“I was Googling trying to find something for the outdoors — plants, potteries, or tents — and this happened to be one of those push ads," co-owner Anisa Iuliano said.

Anisa and her husband, Michele Iuliano, own seven Italian restaurants in the city and originally planned to open this rooftop above their gnoccheria in April.

“Extremely tough," Anisa said.

Anisa referred both to the months COVID-19 delayed Ampia's now July 8 opening and their ability to pay their rent at just 25 percent capacity. But their experience with guests in Ampia's first few days of soft opening suggests the restaurant's five greenhouses might help it attract and maintain patrons.

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“[Customers are all] requesting to sit in the greenhouses," Anisa said. "It’s an exclusive feeling, intimate.”

It might also feel more sanitary and safer from the virus. Ampia's greenhouses offer contactless ordering, hand sanitizer, socially distanced seating and surfaces disinfected with an electrostatic sanitizing spray, in addition to a menu of cocktails and Italian specialties.

“Fresh squeezed avocado with tequila reposado," Anisa said.

“Panini with the fish: octopus, lobster, shrimps," Michele said

The little greenhouses proved so popular during the restaurant’s soft opening, the Iulianos now plan to order a larger one for groups.