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Video: Dining out now means dining outside in Minnesota

Jun 02, 2020 05:48AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Photo: WDIO-TV

From WDIO-TV - June 1, 2020

Although Mother Nature may make things less than ideal, people still dined and drank outside on Monday. It was the first day for this option, as part of Phase 2 of reopening Minnesota.

At The Boat Club at Fitger's around lunchtime, it remained cool by the lake. But that didn't stop newlyweds Britta and Peter Augdahl from enjoying their meal. "It's our first time out enjoying a meal in I can't remember how long," Britt said. "It's chilly, but the fresh air is nice."

"I think they executed it very well. Felt very clean, very normal too. A normal eating experience. It feels good to know you are being taken care of," added Peter.

Owner Jason Vincent said it was their third table of the day. "We weren't expecting much. It doesn't surprise many of us, when you're dealing with Duluth weather. Thankfully, the rest of the week looks better."

He is grateful they have a patio space and furniture already, and that Fitger's is letting them use a tent. But he said not everyone is in that same boat. "Not only are businesses hurting, down 80% or more, but now a lot of us are spending money on renting tents or buying chairs and umbrellas," Vincent said.

Still, they've poured their lives into their restaurants, and want to keep them going.

Some logistical things. You can call right before you get there to make your reservation, you can use the bathrooms, and if it rains, you go inside, pack up your food, and pay inside. That's the guidance they've been given from the governor's office.

Brian Daugherty from Grandma's Restaurants said that they have about 20 tables set up outside of their Canal Park restaurant. And at one point, half were full, even though it was in the 50s around lunchtime.

Further inland, Third Base Bar in Carlton is ready for its regulars to come back. They have a large patio already, but also set up the tent they normally use for Carlton Daze. Inside are tables, stools, a dart board, a TV, and even a stage for Sunday Funday music.

"To have something like the tent, is good when it might be cold or rainy. And then when it's beautiful and sunny, people can head back out ot the patio," shared Aaron Hanson, the owner. 

They are looking forward to seeing people again, although he's grateful for the support from customers who've ordered take-out and bought liquor from their off-sale side.

Jordan Nickey, a bartender and customer, said, "I'm super excited. I miss everybody. I'm sick of sitting at home. I've been doing some of the off-sale and answering the phones on the weekends. And it's not the same."

Here are some of the rules about restaurants/bars reopening.

Restaurants are still encouraging people to buy gift cards and order take-out or curbside as well.

To read the original story and see related reporting, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.

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