Businesses Brace For the Colder Weather

Winter is coming and local businesses are planning accordingly to adjust to the cold.

DULUTH, Minn. – While we’ve had a warm fall so far, colder weather is imminent in the Northland.

With outside seating, how are local restaurants and breweries accomodating customers during these changes?

Winter is coming and local businesses are planning accordingly to adjust to the cold.

At Bent Paddle in the Lincoln Park Craft District, the brewery is partnering with another local business to retain outdoor seating.

The plan is for Frost River to design and build an outdoor tented structure to cover a portion of the patio, which will act as a winter camping-like design. This will help Bent Paddle keep eight outdoor tables on the brewery’s deck. The structure will be heated from the inside and will have fire-resistant camp tent material along with plastic windows.

“We’re really excited to have neighbors like Frost River that can help us with these wild ideas and make them right here in Lincoln Park,” said Pepin Young, the director of taproom and retail operations at Bent Paddle.

At Burrito Union, diners have been taking advantage of the warmer weather to enjoy their food in the restaurant’s outdoor seating area. The restaurant currently seats 20 outdoors while serving 35 indoors.

“So as we start to get into the colder weather and moving to only being available for indoor seating, safety and serving is always coming as a first priority even if it does mean that we’re sacrificing some of our original capacity,” said David Fitch, the assistant manager at Burrito Union.

Indoors, the restaurant is putting together plexiglass dividers in order to maximize safety for customers. The restaurant takes employees’ temperatures and practices social distancing along with sanitary practices.

“It’s less of a worry and more of an opportunity to invent new solutions to things,” said Fitch. “We in our industry are kind of seasoned to go with the flow and think about what challenges are coming to us and how we can invent solutions, and I think our industry as a whole has been really good about doing that throughout this pandemic.”

On the west end of Duluth, customers at Duluth Grill enjoyed their food outside Sunday but management is anticipating change.

The restaurant currently has 18 tables for customers to sit outside.

“We’re looking at breaking down the patio,” said Dan LeFebvre, a managing partner at the restaurant. “This next week is kind of gonna be, as we’re looking forward, 50 degrees. It’s going to be a bit brutal for people to sit outside and eat some warm foods.”

As these businesses prepare to weather uncharted territory this winter, management at Bent Paddle hopes people will still choose local.

“Continuing to think as local and as close as possible over the course of the next four to five months because it’s going to be a really tough season for folks,” said Young.

The businesses we spoke to say they are also continuing to promote curbside pickup and delivery for customers who don’t want to dine in.

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