Local bars get creative with outdoor patio spaces in cold weather | KAALTV.com

Local bars get creative with outdoor patio spaces in cold weather

Devin Martin
Created: December 20, 2020 12:21 AM

(ABC 6 News) -- This year has been difficult for many small businesses, especially bars and restaurants. 

On Wednesday they learned they had to adapt to outdoor dining under Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz's restrictions. Indoor dining is paused leaving many businesses having to get creative to cater to customers outdoors. 

Shar's Country Palace in Rochester is one of those businesses. Owner Kimberly McHugh says all you have to do is bring an ice shack and a heater and you'll be served. 

"I have a very large parking lot out here and I thought it would be a great idea for social distancing. If anyone wanted to set up their shack and come on out, enjoy a couple of beers, enjoy some to go food, I thought that we could do that," McHugh said. 

Kimberly is not only getting creative for her bar, she is also giving back to the community by supporting a local animal shelter.

"For every $20 I get, the $10 dollars is going to them for Paws and Claws to fund them, I know their costs are enormous," McHugh said. 

For the people outside who managed to stay warm, they were enjoying their beers. One customer even rode his bike to support the business. 

"The fact that you're outside and staying safe and you can still see people, talk across the parking lot to somebody else, it's a nice way to do it," customer Ron Moffit said. 

Across town is Fat Willy's. They recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary of being in business in Rochester. But now, they didn't expect to serve people outdoors. They also have a new outdoor setup with a TV, numerous tables and chairs, and a fire to keep guests warm. Owner Bill Henderson says they lose money every day their doors are open, but anyway that he can give back to his customers makes it all worth it, "Just to let everyone know we're still here. Minnesota people are pretty tough and they like to do it I think just to say they did it if nothing else," Henderson said. 

One customer agrees and she has a message for small businesses. 

"We love Fat Willy's and we're glad that they're able to offer us patio service. Thank you for these small businesses who are opening up and doing what you can. We love that you are trying as hard as you are and we're here to support you as much as we can," customer Teresa Danzow said. 

These restrictions are going to last until January 10. 

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