LOGAN SQUARE — Rather than complaining about the bitter cold and snow, what if we embraced it?
That’s the idea behind the dining igloos popping up around the city. At least three of them are in Logan Square — one at Middle Brow Beer Co., 2840 W. Armitage Ave., another at La Boulangerie, 3129 W. Logan Boulevard and a third at Pilot Project Brewing, 2140 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The restaurant owners didn’t collaborate; they just all had the same idea — to provide a semi-outdoor dining experience for patrons in the cold winter months.
Middle Brow’s igloo will likely open this weekend, according to owner Pete Ternes.
Ternes said he and his business partners initially wanted to set up a hoop house, or urban greenhouse, for fermentation and growing herbs and flowers. But they opted to put up a dining igloo instead.
“The timing was fortuitous and these are a lot more plug and play,” Ternes said.
Like other dining igloos, Middle Brow’s igloo, which can fit up to 10 people, will be outfitted with comfortable seating and heaters. Because they’re made of clear plastic, the igloos allow people to enjoy the winter weather while staying warm.
“If it’s snowing, you lucked out big time,” Ternes said.
Ternes said Middle Brow’s igloo will have an “Appalachian-hippie-farmer-pizza-den” vibe. Flowers and herbs will be grown in there. People will be able to bring their own records to play on the igloo record player.
Middle Brow will begin taking reservations for the igloo as soon as it’s ready.
But, Ternes noted, it’s not a reservation-only thing.
“If there’s a night with no reservations, we’d open it up to two people who want to have a beer in there,” he said.
La Boulangerie is currently taking reservations for its own igloo, which opened last Friday.
The French bakery’s igloo is outfitted with furniture, blankets and heaters. Customers are required to spend at least $29 on food and drinks to use the igloo. On weekdays and other slow days, the minimum is $19 per person.
The igloo has a two-hour time limit during the day and a 90-minute time limit after 5 p.m. For more information, visit La Boulangerie’s website.
Pilot Project Brewing’s 16-foot heated igloo — courtesy of local company Thunder Domes — is now up and running. The igloo is free and open for anyone to use during business owners, though extended visits require reservations, according to owner Dan Abel. To reserve it, reach out to the brewery incubator and bar directly via its contact page.
The trend is all over the Midwest, from Michigan to Wisconsin.
“Anything that gets people outdoors and appreciating the cold as much as they appreciate the sun” is a good thing, Ternes said.
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