One of those most amazing things I've witnessed through these COVID-era months, as I've endlessly biked and walked and eaten my way through the city, has been the energy and creativity that restaurants have thrown at this terrible pandemic. They're sharing their kitchens, selling meal kits and groceries, hosting pop-ups and guest-chef series, changing their menus, preparing and delivering free meals to those in need, and, of course, trying to bring some atmosphere to the innumerable outdoor dining setups that have transformed our streetscape. It's been remarkable to witness some of these successes.

I thought about all this last Friday as I sat down at my perfectly fine little table in front of the Musket Room in Nolita, a Michelin-starred restaurant that's usually well out of my price range. Pre-pandemic this place was famous for its long, luxurious prix-fixe dinners, but even though owner Jennifer Vitagliano invested in a new, top-of-the-line HVAC plus a UV filtration system to facilitate indoor dining (and is fortunate enough to have a lovely back garden as well), with winter on the way she knew she had to add another access point to the Musket Room experience.

Enter the head-turning vintage food van now parked outside Musket Room on Elizabeth Street, which Vitagliano borrowed from her friend Jenny Friedberg, who owns Greenlawn Farm up in Rhinebeck. The 1962 International Harvester acts as an ordering counter for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and cocktails, marking the first time in seven years the restaurant's been open during the day. The operation, dubbed MR All Day, is only up and running on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but so far it's been a huge hit with the neighborhood, selling out quickly each day.

"Being on the street lets us engage more easily with the community," Vitagliano said. "I've met so many new people out here since we started."

Best of all, MR All Day offers an ideal showcase for the cooking of her two excellent new chefs, Mary Attea and Camari Mick. Pastry chef Mick, who comes to Musket Room via the likes of Le Bernardin and Thomas Keller's TAK Room, is thrilled to be here slinging pastries out on the street, and I gleefully ordered a number of her signature items during my visit. The Apple Brûléed Donut featured a light and fluffy dough stuffed with an intense apple cream and was covered in a crackling hard shell and the delightful Sweet Potato Bun was filled with an earthy mushroom mix. Depending on the day, other pastry items may also include a Chocolate Scone, a Guava Cream Cheese Donut, or a slice of Buckwheat Creme Pie. Definitely order the sweet and chewy Miso Toffee Chip Cookie for the road.

For something even more hearty, get the massive, messy Miso Maple Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich at breakfast, or chef Attea's fat Pork Katsu sandwich for lunch, starring a thick slab of ridiculously juicy pig between slices of soft milk bread. The Caramelized Pain Perdu, or French toast, is the size of a brick and will satisfy even the hungriest of brunchers. Mick offers loaves of bread which you can take home as part of MR All Day's "provisions" program, which also features things like bacon, eggs, sausages, hot sauce, and jams.

There's coffee and tea available all day or, if you're feeling more boozy, cocktails, spritzes, and beer (get a Bread and Spreads plate with any of the later, would be my advice). There are a couple of tables set up the Elizabeth Street sidewalk, and a bunch more under the roof of Musket Room's curbside dining area. Of course, Musket Room proper remains open for dinner on Tuesday through Sunday, with chef Attea's new a la carte menu and some of chef Mick's fancier desserts. But the van and sidewalk cafe outside offers a great way to eat some top-notch cooking for a more comfortable price.

The MR All Day van is located outside of Musket Room at 265 Elizabeth Street, between Houston and Prince Streets, and is currently open on Friday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Friday again for cocktails and snacks at 5 p.m. As stated above, they have been selling out of pastries and sandwiches pretty quickly each day, so go early to avoid disappointment (212-219-0764;