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Photo by Andy Rogers

Bald Man Brewing opened its patio last weekend.

Local establishments offer up outside dining

Hearty Minnesotans are giving outdoor dining a shot in December.

After being told to close for four weeks due to the increasing COVID-19 case numbers, last week Gov. Tim Walz gave the OK for restaurants to open its patios for service just in time for winter in Minnesota.

Bald Man Brewing in Eagan is one of several local establishments to give it a try.

“Obviously this works a lot better in California,” said Dan Jacobs, president and co-founder of Bald Man Brewing in Eagan.

Bald Man Brewing invested in its patio earlier this year.

“We have a huge beer garden in the back and we put up two TVs,” Jacobs said. “They’re the big TVs that can be outdoors.”

Patrons got to watch the Minnesota Gophers and Vikings lose last weekend while sitting around the four fire pits and six patio heaters.

The taproom also put up tarps to help keep the wind out, but they’re not allowed to put up a tent or igloos, Jacobs said.

They’re not the only one giving it a try.

Casper’s Cherokee of Eagan opened up its patio right away Dec. 19, welcoming a handful of patrons by midafternoon.

Volstead House Whiskey Bar and Speakeasy in Eagan also opened up its patio as soon as it could.

“If the fire tables don’t warm you up, the whiskey will,” according to the Volestead House Facebook page.

The patio is open seven days a week from 4-10 p.m. The Volstead House recommend reservations, but walk-ins may be accepted.

The Bourbon Butcher’s patio in Farmington also reopened Tuesday. The person who answered the phone Monday said the patio will be open seven days a week until 10 p.m.

According to their social media accounts, the patios at Yankee Tavern in Eagan is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Doolittles Woodfire Grill in Eagan is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Rosemount Carbone’s Pizza & Pub has a couple of heaters out on its patio as well, according to the person who answered the phone Monday. People are welcome to stop by for pizza and a beer from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Lucky 13’s Pub in Burnsville is serving a limited menu and full bar from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. as well.

It’s something, but Jacobs can’t help but feeling a big dismayed.

“(Gov. Walz) is throwing crumbs at us,” Jacobs said. “Just looking at the (Twin Cities Premium Outlet Mall) across the street. They’re completely full. I totally get it. It’s a pandemic, but it’s not fair how he picks and chooses.”

Jacob said based on the restaurant reservation data, a fraction of cases were traced to restaurants and breweries who were being careful.

Most of the cases can be traced to eight bars where young people tend to congregate late at night, he said.

“There was some bad people who were not following the rules, and they should be punished,” Jacobs said. “It’s not fair to the places that were following the rules. We’ve got to take any crumb we can take at this point. We’re lucky to say we can (have patio seating).”

Jacobs said Bald Man is likely going to survive the shutdown, but he knows of 20-30 other places that won’t.

“We’re fortunate to have an incredible patron base that really seem to enjoy what we do,” Jacobs said. “We sold out some swag, but it’s sad that we’re going to have to survive on that. This is traditionally a busy time of year — this and Thanksgiving. People are out shopping. People are home for the holidays. It’s been devastating. I’m just happy that I can bring some of my employees back to work.”

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