Patio season may be officially over but, for a few restaurants, the party isn’t quite done yet. Rather than letting the space go to waste, some enterprising restaurateurs have come up with ways to turn their outdoor areas into cozy abodes suitable for the first snowfall. From retractable roofs to an old-fashioned yurt, here are five ways restaurants have prepared for the coldest months.
Gusto 101’s retractable glass roof: Earlier in the spring Gusto 101 (101 Portland St., at King) owner Janet Zuccarini unveiled a retractable glass roof on the Italian restaurant’s upstairs patio, allowing the 100-seat glass-house to be open year-round with bonus air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter. The walls are also basically giant windows, so this is a great place to enjoy what’s left of the sunlight before seasonal affective disorder kicks in. Also, the kale salad. Everyone always gets the kale salad.
El Catrin’s gas heaters and fire pit: The Distillery Group spared no expense when transforming The Broiler House into Mexican restaurant El Catrin (18 Tank House Ln., at Cherry), so rather than letting the spacious outdoor patio go to waste, 30 gas-powered heaters were added in addition to the giant fire pits already on the premises.
Cool City Oyster Yard’s winter lodge: What was supposed to be just a summer set-up is now a year-round operation. Cool City Oyster Yard (99 Sudbury, at Lisgar) added a roof and a heating system (see top photo), transforming their patio into a winter lodge with plenty of tea lights to give the space a cozy and warm atmosphere. A new winter menu is also introduced today.
Big Crow’s false wall and multi-layered roof: At outdoor grill restaurant Big Crow (176 Dupont St., at St. George), a wall has been erected at the entrance to block cold breezes, and heaters were installed along the length of the space. The roof’s retractable tarp set-up, built to hold up against the rain in the summer, is reinforced with layers of plywood, insulation, and another tarp to keep the snow out. Blankets from army surplus stores and hanging kerosine lamps finish the winter look.
Ceili Cottage’s annual yurt: For the second year, oyster shucker Patrick McMurray has erected a yurt in front of Ceili Cottage (1301 Queen St. E., at Alton) to bring a little bit of Mongolia to Leslieville. It’s got heat, a record player, and plenty of beer. Have a look at the rockin’ set-up here.—Karon Liu