On restaurant patios this summer, outdoor fans worked overtime. They buzzed madly in an attempt to cool patrons on the season’s hottest days. Now, as fall gives way to winter, local restaurants are pulling out heaters and dreaming up hearty dishes to keep customers warm on chilly nights.
Because whether temperatures rise or fall, many diners still want to eat outside, say the owners of local restaurants like Bistro Byronz and Los Reyes.
And if you’ve had a chance to dine at a restaurant this year, you’ll understand why. “I haven’t seen you all year,” is a commonly overheard refrain as friends clink glasses, happily catching up over cocktails. After months of social distancing, people are eager to see loved ones—and to get back to their favorite spots—however they can. Thanks to the CDC’s
COVID-19 safety guidelines encouraging restaurant owners to prioritize outside seating, Baton Rouge is one of many cities that has seen a massive increase in outdoor dining options.
Restaurants have added bistro tables on sidewalks, planted chairs in gravel parking lots, and invested in dining-hall-sized tents. Many eateries have upped the ambiance with colorful umbrellas, string lights, custom murals and other amenities.
For patrons at high risk for complications of the coronavirus, it’s meant the world to be able to feel safe sitting in a spacious parking lot at a restaurant like DiGiulio Brothers. And it’s provided relief for owners of restaurants like Cocha, too, who say the increase in outdoor dining has made spacing out their indoor dining rooms easier.
With hope for an eventual end to the pandemic in 2021, there will be plenty of elements of our “new norm” we’ll be happy to bid farewell. But this outdoor dining trend is one we can hope sticks around for the long run.