December 8, 2020
Whether you just like the ambiance of eating alfresco or you prefer the safety of open-air dining, winter in Missouri presents a challenge. The Show-Me State may not offer year-round summer, but it is long on flexibility. Restaurants are adding space heaters, fire pits, heated tents, outdoor lighting and music to extend patio use through the cold months.
But there are some places that have taken winter outdoor dining to new and creative places – here are a few of the best:
- The weather outside may be frightful but the dining in your personal igloo at Vantage Rooftop Lounge and Conservatory
at Hotel Vandivort in Springfield is just delightful. Each igloo can accommodate up to eight people, and space heaters let you control the temperature. Share snack mixes or choose sliders or a charcuterie board.
- Enjoy a winter view of the lake from the cozy comfort of your personal igloo during "Holidays at High Tide" Nov. 27-Jan. 2 at Redhead Lakeside Grill at the Lake of the Ozarks. On Friday and Saturday nights, dine on entrees from a special holiday menu accompanied by holiday craft cocktails. Reservations are recommended but you can also walk-in if you feel lucky.
- Greenhouses are normally associated with plants – but at Olio in St. Louis, you can dine in your own personal "hot house" and stay toasty, no matter the temperature outside. Restaurateur Ben Poremba set up rectangular greenhouse huts in the front parking lot. Each one allows up to four people to savor the delicious Israeli inspired cuisine in comfort.
- Add some extra heat to your dining experience at Herbie's in Clayton. Guests dine under the comfort of a large heated tent, covering most of the north facing patio, with a giant 15-foot fire feature in the middle that creates a nice barrier of heat. The space is kept warm with propane-forced heat as well.
- Let your breath be taken away by the view, not the cold, by reserving your igloo at the The Roof at the Broadway in Columbia. Luxury, custom made igloos allow for an unobstructed view of the Columbia skyline. Each igloo is heated, keeping guests comfortable during the winter cold, and outfitted with seating for up to eight guests. A 90-minute reservation is recommended and a food/beverage minimum is required.
- And for happy hour cocktails or after-dinner aperitifs, make your reservation for one of the "coolest" experiences in Kansas City at the Fontaine at the Plaza. Aurora Borealis lighting and burning Palo Santo wood sweep you away to the ice lands of Scandinavia at the Nine Zero One Igloo Bar, where you can enjoy sharable tapas inspired by traditional Scandinavian flavors.
So don't wait until spring. This winter, channel your inner Eskimo and search out a new Missouri patio dining adventure.
Written by Barb Brueggeman