With Gov. Tom Wolf banning indoor dining until Jan. 4, people can still have options to eat at some of their favorite restaurants.
Igloos have become a cool trend in socially distanced dining throughout Northeast Pennsylvania, and the Down Pour is the latest place to offer them.
Three igloos with heaters that seat up to eight people were recently added to the restaurant on South Main Street in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
Josh Popple, owner of the Down Pour, said he waited more than three months to get the trendy igloos after ordering them online because so many people have been trying to purchase them for outdoor dining.
“It’s the only option we have right now to still bring customers in the door,” Popple said.
With COVID-19 safety guidelines in place, he said most people prefer to dine outdoors in igloos, which have vents and are sanitized every half hour between sittings.
“It’s a pretty cool experience because in rain, snow or shine, you can still sit in an igloo and it could be coming down on top of you and you just get a view of everything around you,” he said.
The Down Pour joins other restaurants throughout Northeast Pennsylvania that also offer igloo dining, including Cork Bar & Restaurant in Wilkes-Barre, The Beaumont Inn in Dallas, Grico’s Restaurant in Exeter and State Street Grill in Clarks Summit.
Wildflowers New York Bistro at the Holiday Inn in Plains Twp. was the first in Luzerne County to offer igloo dining last year before the coronavirus shutdown.
Three igloos with heaters and bluetooth speakers are located on its back patio and they can be reserved for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Two are near a fire pit.
“You could look over at the fire pit and the sunsets from the igloos are beautiful. It’s nice to come before sunset and watch the sunset because it is just breathtaking,” said Patti James, bartender at Wildflowers New York Bistro. “It’s a nice experience. A lot of it is for special occasions but the social distancing made them boom.”
The Westmoreland Club on South Franklin Street in downtown Wilkes-Barre has found another cool way to offer outdoor dining for lunch and dinner: in six heated cubes on its courtyard.
Four cubes are 20 feet long and could hold up to 16 people and two are 12 feet long and can hold up to six people.
The cubes are 12 feet high, made of clear plexiglass and constantly washed with fresh air, said Robert Williams, general manager and chief operating officer at the Westmoreland Club.