WAYZATA, Minn. — It's hard to miss the four, large igloos set up on the sidewalk outside ninetwentyfive in Wayzata.
The restaurant put them up Thursday after brainstorming ways to extend the outdoor dining season.
"We know people feel safe eating outdoors," said Laura Garcia, ninetwentyfive General Manager. "We said, how can we be viable through the late fall, the winter, and the early spring? And really just everyone started getting creative."
The igloos seat up to eight people each and come with blankets which are changed out and washed between each reservation.
"It's very similar to a greenhouse," Garcia said. "On a nice, sunny day it's going to help, just with solar energy, to warm it up as well."
The restaurant also added fabric screens to its heated porch to block the wind, and has plans to add more heaters.
As the temperatures drop, they hope the changes give options to customers who might not feel comfortable with indoor dining.
"Since COVID, I've tried to be outdoors almost every time I've gone out to join someone for dinner or lunch," said Chris Umidon, who joined a friend for lunch in one of ninetwentyfive's igloos Saturday afternoon.
While Garcia says ninetwentyfive's business has been great through the pandemic this summer, other restaurants haven't fared as well.
Restaurants like Bellecour in Wayzata, the Bachelor Farmer in the North Loop, and Muddy Waters in Uptown all closed during the pandemic, and more closures could be coming. Hospitality Minnesota continues to ask the state to increase indoor dining capacity, warning that, without help, over half the state's restaurants could close permanently in the coming months.
Garcia says ninetwentyfive hopes to keep the igloos and heated porch open all winter. Reservations are required for the igloos, as are minimums for food and beverage orders. Garcia said the minimums are subject to change, but as of now are:
Weekday lunch: $125
Weekend brunch: $250
Sunday - Wednesday evening dinner: $250
Thursday - Saturday evening dinner: $500
Ninetwentyfive isn't the only restaurant getting creative to keep customers coming this winter. Read about what more restaurants are doing here.