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Area restaurants ready to adapt to colder weather

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 5:22 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Outdoor seating is now a necessity, keeping some restaurants in our area open. But as the temperature drops, things are changing.

“We’re taking advantage of nice days,” Pedro Pineda, owner of Jalapeno’s Mexican Restaurante in Wausau, said.

“It’s been invaluable to us because the vast majority of the eating out in public right now would rather down outside than inside,” Mike Mitchel, the owner of Hilltop Bar and Grill in Stevens Point, said.

Although the temperature is cooperating.

“We keep encouraging everyone to come out and utilize the last days of summertime,” Pineda said.

Restaurants are being forced to change.

“We’ve got some heaters for the three-season enclosed deck,” Mitchell explained.

These propane heaters at Hilltop Bar and Grill, along with plastic wrap added later, will be utilized at various restaurants to extend the life of the outdoors.

These heaters are powered by propane, and can heat four tables around them.
These heaters are powered by propane, and can heat four tables around them.(WSAW)

“We’re going to milk the outdoor seating for as long as we can get,” Mitchell said.

The same is true down the street at El Mezcal Restaurant.

“Maybe we can use it until September, hopefully,” Adolfo Melendez, the owner of El Mezcal in Stevens Point, said.

The outdoor seating is brand new this year at a new location, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It has kept regulars like Gary Edelman coming in. Edelman said he has seen heaters work on patios in Chicago.

“It’s very comfortable. The heaters with the plastic curtains work very well," Edelman explained.

In downtown Wausau, seating outside has been the norm. This upcoming winter concerns Melendez.

“Winter is a little bit more busier than summertime for us especially in downtown because there’s not much to do outside so people come out to the restaurant more,” Pineda said with slight concern.

But luckily, he says his inside is spacious enough to distance people.

“I have enough space to practice social distancing and have a full restaurant without really exposing people to each other,” Pineda said.

He added that other restaurants in downtown Wausau plan on buying heaters for the patio as early as this week to extend that seating as long as possible.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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