The pandemic has been terrible for the entire hospitality industry, but traditional mom & pop Chinese spots seem to be among the hardest hit of all, accelerating a trend toward closure that's been plaguing these often immigrant-owned restaurants for years. Yong Zhao and chef Lucas Sin of the Junzi mini-chain were so alarmed by this decline, even pre-pandemic, that they launched an ambitious $5 million initiative last year to partner with struggling neighborhood spots and update their kitchens and ordering systems, in the hope of keeping these legacy places, and the dishes that once defined "Chinese food" in America, vital and alive.

COVID-19 has stalled those plans slightly, but the test-kitchen pop-up for the concept, called Nice Day, has been such a success since it opened in late summer on Bleecker Street that Zhao and Sin are making this delivery-mostly spot a permanent restaurant. The Junzi Kitchen sign still hangs above the door for now, but the only food you can get here is chef Sin's appealing menu of, mostly, Chinese-American classics.

The focus at Nice Day is on delivery (Sin estimates that 95% of his orders are dispatched in this fashion), which can be had anywhere in Manhattan below 45th Street. As such, there's no elaborate curbside-dining setup here, just a few folding tables and chairs on the sidewalk for those of us who want to eat right away, or don't live in the delivery zone. There's also some well-spaced seating inside, if you're comfortable with that. Everything arrives in takeout containers no matter where you're dining.

Earlier this week I gathered a party of four on the Sullivan Street sidewalk for a massive feast from all over the Nice Day menu. Everything is good here, and will certainly satisfy any and all of your basic "let's get Chinese tonight" desires, but a few personal favorites include the silky, numbing, chili-soaked Mapo Tofu; the crisp and chewy noodles in the Shrimp Chow Mein (which you can also get with chicken, beef, or vegetales); and that old sticky, spicy warhorse General Tao's Chicken.

There are a number of vegan options at Nice Day, from fiery Kung Pao Vegetables to plump Steamed Vegetable Dumplings to Crispy Spring Rolls. The Beef and Broccoli arrives appropriately drenched in a thick and lively brown sauce. There's also a Sweet and Sour Chicken, Orange Chicken, Mongolian Beef, a quartet of Fried Rice offerings, and a Lo Mien, which comes with beef, chicken, shrimp, or vegetables.

Chef Sin does throw in a couple of non-traditional takes as well, like the garlicky, triple-jointed XL Chicken Wings, and the heavily battered Shake Shake Shrimp with the dipping sauce of your choice (the orange one goes quite nicely with the sweet shellfish). Soft drinks, bags of Chinese Chips, and jars of Junzi Chili Oil can be included in your order as well.

Nice Day Chinese is located at 170 Bleecker Street, at the corner of Sullivan Street, and is currently open for dine-in, takeout, and delivery on Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. (929-260-1030;