Pandemic forced many restaurants to get creative and offer new additions to experience

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Last winter bars and restaurants in Iowa were only allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity due to the pandemic, which forced many restaurants to get creative and try to enhance the experience to try and maximize the number of tables available to customers. 

The owner at Barn Town Brewing, Pete Faber started offering the igloos last winter to try and get a few more tables available. Along with being a safe, warm place to gather, they were a huge hit. 

“This is something different. I think people want new experiences. And I think this was just something that people hadn’t seen yet in Des Moines and we just kind of jumped on it and it worked out. So we brought it back again this year,” said Faber.

There are four igloos on the patio with eight seats available inside along with heaters. Guests are able to order food and drinks without leaving the igloo.

Reservations are required and guests are welcome to eat and drink inside the igloo for up to two hours. This winter they are featuring their new updated menu that is for outdoor seating only.

And according to Jessica Dunker, the CEO of Iowa Restaurant association, new additions like this have risen in popularity not only due to the pandemic but due to the large factor that experience plays in restaurant visits these days.

“One of the best ways to give an experiential atmosphere to someone is to do something fun in an unexpected way. Like put them in a heated igloo or put them on a heated patio in the winter. And so certainly restaurants who have consumers that are interested in doing that will be doing that and they’ll do it as long as the customers can tolerate the cold,” said Dunker.

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