Outdoor Restaurants Prepare for Cold
COLUMBIA - Open air restaurants in downtown Columbia Friday were seeing customers come back inside with the change in weather. Jay Rader, general manager of Bengal's Bar and Grill said that business dips a little bit in the winter months. He said it's more difficult to accommodate large crowds because he loses more than 50 seats outdoors.
"Since this bar is more seasonal then some of them, we do what we can but we can't control the weather." Rader said. Bengal's has put up a tent outside and propane heaters to encourage customers to sit outside.
Coley's American Bistro finished installing outdoor seating two weeks ago. Owner Brian Coley said after working on getting one for a year, he now doesn't think people will want to sit outside in the cold. He said he hoped for a few more weeks of warm weather.
"It's better late then never, but people probably are not going to want to rough it." Coley said.
Coley said he has entertained the idea of installing a heating system for his porch, but isn't sure how popular the outdoor seating will be. He said he will have to wait until next spring to get a better response.