Sweater weather is here, and in response, Philadelphia restaurants are preparing for colder weather like never before. Due to restrictions put in place in response to the pandemic, outdoor dining plays a vital role this year in a business’s survival. Though ordering takeout or delivery still remain popular right now, the holiday season is typically one full of gatherings with family and friends – often with food and drink. While indoor dining is permitted, the current occupancy caps along with the comfort level of the public, will make outdoor dining much more needed than we’d typically see in the fall and winter seasons. In order to comfortably accommodate guests, many local restaurants will be offering heat lamps, fire pits, cozy blankets, and of course – warm food and drinks.
Here’s a sampling of Philadelphia restaurants to head to for a cozy outdoor experience during the chilly months ahead:
Dine in a Private Greenhouse
Have you ever eaten in a greenhouse? Well, at Harper’s Garden at 18th and Ludlow, you’ll have the opportunity to do just that. Owner Avram Hornik debuted the private, heated individual greenhouses in mid-October, and they’re expected to get a holiday revamp during November. The private greenhouse dining rooms feature a door, glass walls, tables and chairs, decor, twinkling lights and even heat on the cold days. Each greenhouse will be disinfected in between each party- as part of the new normal process that includes disinfected and sanitizing all tables and chairs.
“Restaurants are fighting for their very survival right now and we have worked with our teams for months to find safe, healthy and socially-distanced ways to continue to offer outdoor dining experiences for our community,” said FCM Hospitality and Harper’s Garden Owner Avram Hornik. “Harper’s Garden has always been a year-round, four-season celebration of nature and outdoor elements – including a rotating selection of food and drink by our team using local and farm-fresh ingredients. We have taken inspiration from our open-air veranda and created a brand-new way to enjoy a full outdoor dining experience that literally puts you inside your very own dining room where you can enjoy the stars shining overhead, while you enjoy and share in a great seasonal meal with your family and friends.”
The new greenhouses will offer a heated way to enjoy sweater weather and fall temperatures moving in – but they will also provide a chance to dine outside in the elements. The greenhouses will keep you warm and dry in rain, wind and snow. They are available in two sizes, to either seat four to seven guests, or six to nine guests. You can make your reservation (minimum of 4 people) online for no additional fee.
Get Cozy in an Igloo
Glu Hospitality has been working non-stop during the pandemic to transform their former bar and nightlife concepts into food-focused, sage and socially-distanced dining concepts. (It’s this type of ingenuity that’s needed to keep afloat in 2020!) One of these ventures was turning the well-known Vesper Day Club and pool into Germantown Garden Grill. The private pool club turned steakhouse on Germantown Avenue has added pop-up igloos along with along with dazzling beautiful heatlamps to make the steak-house experience next level. The different size igloos can accommodate groups of two, four, and even up to 10 people – all in accordance with attendance set by the city and the state.
Inside the igloos you can get fare from the steak-house menu, but also from two ghost kitchens they have launched – Hunnies Crispy Chicken and Tiny’s Burger Joint. Both ghost kitchens are in full swing with active delivery growing by the day on platforms like GrubHub.
Snag a Souvenir Blanket
Owner Nicole Marquis is keeping diners warm inside and out this winter! Her two Center City restaurants Charlie was a sinner. and Bar Bombón launched their Warm Up Cocktail Menu with some exciting surprises. The new menu of hot drinks are served in a thermos to keep them warm throughout the meal. Plus, each drink comes with a cozy embroidered blanket to keep diners toasty while they enjoy lunch or dinner. And when you go home, you get to take the blanket with you. Marquis said, “We also have high-powered space heaters outside so diners can beat the chill and continue to enjoy meals outside throughout the fall.”
Stay Nice & Toasty
While many businesses are struggling this year, we’d venture to say that outdoor patio heaters aren’t one of them. From homeowners looking to keep those backyard gatherings going to local restaurants trying to make things as comfortable as possible for diners, outdoor heaters are in demand!
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Here are just a few of the Philly spots we found that feature outdoor heaters to help keep the chills away:
a. kitchen, Rittenhouse
Cafe La Maude, Northern Liberties
Fork, Old City
The Hadley, Art Museum
The Love, Rittenhouse
Positano Coast, Old City
SouthGate Philly, Graduate Hospital
South Restaurant, Avenue of the Arts North
Talula’s Garden, Washington Square
Hot Toddies & Plenty of Comfort Food
And if all else fails … keep the hot drinks (spiked or not) and belly-filling dishes coming!