Winter Outdoor Dining During A Pandemic
With mask in tow, I ventured out to explore Downtown Grand Rapids this Sunday. I was curious to find out what was open and what wasn't. I saw pics of tents and beer shanties at local restaurants so I bundled up and figured I'd give it a shot. I like eating Al Fresco so, let's do this!
I went to One Twenty Three on Ionia Ave. Their website describes the tavern as a place
"Where the atmosphere is as warm as the dish that just came out of the kitchen."
Warm? Kinda. The atmosphere was welcoming and warm. Was the tent warm? Well...
I sat at a table that I was told might shield me from the breeze. With a clear view of the Lions football game which was playing at Studio Park, I was not freezing like the temps but chilly. I could hear the game clearly and see it through the poinsettias which adorned the tent. I sat, in my coat with hat and gloves, and enjoyed a mushroom Risotta with grilled chicken. The dish was steaming when it arrived at my table in a To-Go container with plastic utensils. I noticed breath leaving the patrons who were sitting at a table near me. Everyone was wearing coats, hats, gloves and boots. It was typical Michigan winter grab, except with outdoor dining in the winter, ya don't take your jacket off!
Ian, my waiter, told me that One Twenty Three will be offering an entrée, garlic bread and a bottle of wine for two at half price all week. He mentioned that other establishments were offering outdoor seating with a reservation, but One Twenty Three wasn't requiring reservations. Ian said they are doing what they can in an effort to stay open. I saw him disinfect tables and wash his hands a dozen times.
The food was delicious! The service was great! The more wine I drank, the more tolerable the climate became. The atmosphere WAS warm and inviting, If you're planning on dining out this winter, dress warm and maybe have a cocktail! Or consider this... Ian was making plenty of hot coffee libations!
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