During the summer months, restaurants and bars were able to accommodate their business with outdoor patio options. With a long and cold Chicago winter approaching us, many bar and restaurant owners are terrified of what’s to come for their businesses. Because restaurant patios represent most of their profits right now, business owners have to become creative in how they are going to adapt to Chicago’s safety guidelines and winter, in order to stay afloat. Restaurants all over the city are figuring out how they can accommodate outdoor dining in Winter in Chicago.
Thankfully, the city of Chicago has taken numerous steps with leading restaurants in the right direction. The city announced a Winter Design Challenge, which will award $5,000 each to three winners that come up with creative solutions for winter outdoor dining. With over 600 submissions, participants put forward their dining suggestions which ultimately led to the creation of a book with the top 60 most innovative suggestions and designs in response to fixing the winter dining problem.
While we’ll all be on the lookout for these design ideas this winter, here’s a list of what restaurants are currently doing as the temperature drops.
- Community winter dining market
- A weekly outdoor market for local restaurants and food vendors to sell their products in a farmer’s market-style community space. This is not only great exposure for restaurants, but a great weekend activity for community members as well.
- Pneumatic pods
- Igloo-like bubbles use pre-heated indoor air to provide insulated and weather resistant zones for outdoor seating.
- Outdoor heaters
- Many restaurants have purchased outdoor heaters to place around their patio seatings for warmth this winter.
- Outdoor dining tents
- Extreme canopy tents and umbrellas are perfect for moving your business outdoors and into the fresh air. Insulated tents are perfect for trapping in heat, and keeping your dining crowd safe and warm.
- Heated chairs and tables
- More of a less common approach, but this method is great for keeping you toasty during your dining experience.
For the full book of innovative outdoor dining ideas, click here!
Stay up to date with things to do this winter in Chicago by checking out our blog!