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Restaurants Get Creative With Winter Solutions



As a construction and development company, restaurants have been a core piece of business for the 20 plus years that BHI has existed. The global pandemic of 2020 has many clients reconsidering plans to build new locations and forced existing locations to find ways to retrofit for the new reality.


With new state and local restrictions on indoor dining, full capacity seating may not return until after the vaccines have been widely distributed, which most experts predict will be late 2021 or early 2022. In the meantime restaurant owners still need to try to save their business by creating outdoor dining spaces that are viable for a DMV winter.


Restaurant owners are turning to igloos, tents, and other structures to keep their outdoor diners protected from the elements and falling temperatures. Ice huts, yurts, and tents have been growing in popularity over the last several years as restaurateurs looked to extend the life of their outdoor patios, but the pandemic has made them a necessity.


With that key point in mind, BHI Construction & Real Estate Development has researched some possible options for restaurant clients to stay viable during a possible harsh winter.


Seating customers outside in the DMV means reckoning with the weather. Heavy rainfall, extreme heat in the summer, and winter weather that dips below 32 degrees can reduce or shutdown outdoor dining in the DMV. But this year is going to be a lot different.

And as we have all seen on national newscasts, no matter where you are, it doesn’t matter what condition it is, people are going out. Some restaurant owners are trying to create cozy, heated outdoor set-ups while others are choosing to go into hibernation rather than sink more money and debt into outdoor dining.


Here are a few solutions that restaurants across the country are trying in order to brave the elements:



A16 in Oakland, California

Italian eatery A16 has set up outdoor tents hanging off of a wooden frame to keep its customers warm. Co-owner Shelley Lindgren said that the restaurant is planning to put a roof on the parklet and install heat lamps.



Coconut Club in Washington, D.C.

Coconut Club’s greenhouse-

The island-inspired restaurant has erected a 33-foot greenhouse outside with an electric heater to help keep its customers warm. A pop-up tent is cheap and breaks easily, so they decided to repurpose wedding tents.



Cafe du Soleil in New York City

Outdoor dining bubbles at Cafe Du Soleil

Customers sitting outside at the French restaurant located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side occupy plastic bubbles that also encompass chairs and tables. According to the owner, the internal temperature of a bubble feels about ten degrees warmer.


Below are a few other notables:


Tents at Colorado's Wolf's Tailor


Fulton Market, Chicago, IL- Igloo


Harper's Garden in Philadelphia, PA - Greenhouse


Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder, CO- YURT


Whatever the setup, restaurants are making an effort to serve their customers and keep their businesses afloat.

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