Today looks much different from yesterday, with temperatures approaching the 50s under partly cloudy skies.

Let’s get a jump on where to enjoy New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day — as safely as you can.

And how Philly hopes to even the playing field in real estate development.

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

Eat, drink, and usher in a new year safely, Philly

Where to go for dinner or New Year’s Eve — or where to find a table for brunch on New Year’s Day — is always a tough choice. The fast-spreading omicron variant of the coronavirus makes it tougher.

But for those who are vaccinated and want to celebrate a new year, many restaurants require proof of vaccination and have ramped up their own safety measures to ensure yours.

Our reporter Nick Vadala has a list of the best dinner and brunch spots around for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. And in case you missed it, our restaurant critic Craig LaBan ran down his 2021 in Philly food. And check out our complete New Year’s Eve guide.

Just don’t forget to bring your mask.

What you should know today

Philly wants to make it easier for minority real estate developers to improve neighborhoods

In an effort to diversify the people developing Philadelphia, city officials are launching a pilot program to help minority real estate developers find more opportunities and contracts.

The Minority Developer Program, slated to begin in January, will:

🏠 Train participants on industry and business best practices,

🏠 Connect participants with seasoned industry leaders as mentors,

🏠 And offer public land and funding to boost developers who have been historically excluded in the industry.

Our reporter Michaelle Bond has more on what it all means for Philadelphia’s development boom.

🧠 Philly Trivia Time 🧠

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the history of the Brandy Alexander, a widely known cocktail that may — or may not — have roots here in Philly. Today’s question: Do you know when the Brandy Alexander was invented? That answer is in this piece, along with theories on the origin story of this classic cocktail.

What we’re …

  • Listening to: A few of these podcasts ranked by the Atlantic as the 50 best of the year. 🎧

  • Considering: What to do with the kids while they’re off school this week — and this weekend. 🤔

  • Upset about: The Fishtown flagship location of coffee giant La Colombe was involved in a smash and grab robbery just days before Christmas. A barista told me that after smashing the iconic glass entry doors, thieves attempted — unsuccessfully — to steal the registers. 😡

Photo of the day

I asked yesterday what your most memorable moment of 2021 was. Let me know if you haven’t, and I’ll use some of the best answers in Thursday’s edition. Email me at morningnewsletter@inquirer.com.

Thanks for starting your day with The Inquirer.✌️