Last winter, you might have noticed the iridescent domes encapsulating diners at a handful of restaurants around Rhode Island. Whether they were the luxury themed versions at Gurney’s Resort in Newport or the colorfully lit ones perched atop Mare Rooftop, these igloos promised an exclusive experience for sipping and savoring outdoors – even in the cold and snow.
“Our igloos started three years ago. The first year was definitely a learning experience: How do we get them to stay dry? How do we get them to stay warm?” remembers Megan Lasher, general manager for TerrazzaRI, the modern Mediterranean and Italian-inspired restaurant in Smithfield. It started as something fun and cool to offer, she says of the original two igloos. “Never in our wildest dreams – or nightmares – did we predict COVID-19 and how it would impact our industry. We never could have seen that mastering the igloos in our second year would be our saving grace through the dark winter of 2020.”
Now, Terrazza offers five uniquely decorated (and heated!) igloos for up to six guests; however, they must be booked by phone or social media, have a two-hour dining limit, and require a $200 spending minimum and auto-gratuity to “ensure our staff is taken care of, especially working in rain, snow, and freezing temperatures.” To keep things safe, the igloos are properly sanitized and tablecloths replaced between each reservation.
When Lasher refers to the igloos as their saving grace, she is not alone. For many restaurants, investing in the domed dining experience isn’t about style as much as it is survival this winter. Some are springing up for the first time, like the cozy bubbles at Kay’s in Woonsocket, Chaska and Revolution American Bistro in Cranston, and Kleos in Providence.
Heaters and twinkle lights make Apponaug’s bubbles almost magical, especially when paired with industrial vibes and craft beer. Unlike most igloo dining, these are first come, first serve.
Creative Indian cuisine in Garden City, best enjoyed by bubble – blankets included! Pro tip: Order a hot drink like Masala Chai or Coconut Grove Hot Toddy to complete the experience. Call 401-537-7900.
For an intimate igloo experience, book an evening inside one of Gurney’s heated – and decorated – domes, which seats up to four. Reserve online or call 401-851-3325.
With or without igloos, Kay’s in an experience: seasonal cocktails, daily specials, and a straightforward menu printed on a napkin. Head to the parking lot across the street for the heated domes. Call 401-762-9675.
Inside Kleos’ cozy bubbles you’ll be transported to Greece with Mediterranean eats and matching vibes, all while you take in views of Downcity. Text 401-413-1069 or call 401-443-4083.
While unsuspecting on the outside, Los Andes dazzles with an interior courtyard dressed for the season, sublime Bolivian and Peruvian cuisine, and, of course, reservable igloos. Call 401-649-4911.
Located in the heart of the East Side, gaze out over Wayland Square while basking in the colorful glow inside their lit igloos. Plus, select from a special menu with options for date night. Call 401-336-6273.
Chill out in one of the private igloos or lounge under the enclosed rooftop for winter dining with unmatched views. Call 401-632-4902.
Each igloo is themed, heated, and features windows for extra ventilation. Reserve online for up to eight guests with a $200 minimum spend and two-hour limit. Perfect for craft cocktails (try: Apple Cider Mule) and taking in Pawtuxet Village.
Indulge in modern Italian with Mediterranean and American flair in one of five reservable igloos. Note: There is a two-hour limit and $200 spending minimum. Call 401-233-3223 or reach out on Facebook or Instagram @terrazzari.