Igloo anyone? Philly restaurants get creative with outdoor dining

Christie Ileto Image
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Igloo anyone? Philly restaurants get creative with outdoor dining
In Northern Liberties, one business is keeping customers warm and safe with its outdoor dining igloos.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Igloos are the latest pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic for the Germantown Garden Grill, a new steakhouse that was once Vesper Day Club in Philadelphia's Northern Liberties section.

"You're completely insulated from other people. So you're not only further than 6 feet away, there's actually a barrier between you and everyone else," said Ryan Fenton, general manager of the Germantown Garden Grill.

Each igloo is warmed by electric heat, sanitized in between parties and seats 4-9 people.

Harper's Garden in Center City is also getting creative keeping customers warm this fall with greenhouses.

"It's just a creative way to continue eating outdoors," said Gina Piccciano, assistant general manager of Harper's Garden. "You can keep the door opened or closed, and each greenhouse will have ventilation of its own heat as well."

Portable heaters are a must this fall at the Rittenhouse Row dining room that spans three blocks on 18th Street. It just got the green light for an extra two nights a week.

"It's like a lifeline... another lifeline that the city is giving us,'' said Nicole Marquis Owner of Hip City Vedge.

READ MORE: Philadelphia dance club pivots to restaurant due to COVID-19

Equipped with Philadelphia's only ice bar, the famed Concourse looks a little different these days. In its first night reopening since March, the former dance bar is now a restaurant.

"To have those additional nights, especially going into winter, which we're not really knowing what's going to happen, we're excited for it," said Rob Wasserman, owner of Rouge.

While indoor dining is now at 50% capacity in the city, al fresco dining remains a popular alternative, especially as the number of positive cases in the state are on the rise.

"People just like to be outside, and the longer you can extend outdoor dining, and be warmed up, outside is really an experience we think everyone wants," said Fenton.