Bracing for Colder Weather, Local Restaurants Explore Next Options
Many restaurants in the northwest metro area have relied on outdoor spaces to serve customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with cooler temperatures, some businesses are adding heaters to increase revenues this fall.
3 Squares in Maple Grove has an outdoor patio which seats 70 people. That’s about one-third of its full indoor capacity.
“Having the patio seating available to augment the seating that we’ve lost inside is key to us being able to survive the winter,” said Phillip Foster, general manager at 3 Squares.
The Maple Grove restaurant has looked into other options to shield customers from the elements when the temperature drops since its patio isn’t enclosed.
“We have looked at the possibility of adding some tarps or some plastic sheeting to at least provide a windbreak,” said Foster. “We’re hoping some hearty Minnesotans are willing to sit in colder temperatures than they usually would help get us through.”
At Mad Jacks in Brooklyn Park, the restaurant has outdoor patio space and hopes to continue servicing customers as the temperatures drop.
“Our patio is not enclosed, but we will put a few heaters out when it gets cold,” said owner Justin Longstrom.
Some Restaurants Hope for Warmer Weather to Extend Patio Dining
Grizzly’s Wood-Fired Grill in Plymouth also has al fresco or open-air dining. However, the restaurant is adapting to its situation and focusing on to-go order sales.
“We just think investing in heat warmers on the patio, or a tent, which to us if we have a tent that’s enclosed, you’re pretty much inside anyway,” said Bailee Buke, general manager of Grizzly’s Wood Fired Fired Grill.
The patio bar at Grizzly’s is closing this week. However, customers who want to brave the chill can still dine at the outdoor tables.
“We looked into investing in heat lamps, but it just didn’t make sense how much it would cost for how much heat it puts out, and with Minnesota winters, we know snow is going to hit,” explained Buke. “It is going to hurt our sales, but we’re not worried that we’re going to close during these tough times. We know it’s going to be a long winter, but we’re going to get through this.”
Duffy’s Bar And Grill Management Says Patio is Comfortable Even in Chilly Temps
Duffy’s Bar and Grill in Osseo has patio space with a roof and a heater. It’s a non-smoking area and seats about 20 people. Manager Rick Bebus says it’s comfortable enough for people.
“The heater is a nice tube heater, so it stays pretty comfortable out there. When you get below zero, no one is going to be out anyway,” said Bebus.
He’s concerned businesses without outdoor spaces might not survive the cold, harsh winter.
“I think we’ll see some changes when they start seeing businesses go under because they don’t have any time on the patio.”