Terraces, sunny warm weather and good food. A perfect combination for restaurants that continue to recover from the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Now they have a new concern; trying to keep inflation under control.
Patio season at full capacity in Ottawa, an early gift from Mother Nature to the Ottawa restaurant industry.
“We don’t usually open our patio that early,” said Haley Rooney, operator of Greenfield’s Public House. “Usually it concerns the first week of June.”
The early start of the terrace season means a rush to prepare terraces, atmosphere is important. However, some garden furniture has doubled in price in the past two years.
“We just ordered some furniture. We can expect it every day now,” says Rooney. “The prices for everything are going up. So surprised no, but it’s still shocking.”
After a cool start to spring, Ottawa is ready for dinner on the patio.
“Spring in Canada. It’s summer, spring, and winter in the same week,” said Greenfield patron Neil Turcotte. “But this is delicious, I love it.”
“Perfect patio weather, yes. Very nice,” says Linda Albania, patroness of Greenfield. “I haven’t been outside in a while, so it works out well.”
“It feels so amazing,” said Margaret Granville, Greenfield’s patroness. “And it feels free after being locked up from COVID for two and a half years.”
At Broadway Bar and Grill in Nepean, co-owner Mike Cooke grins at the high cost of food.
“Food costs have gone up,” Cooke says. “Some products are up 200 percent from a year ago.”
“Food is more crazy,” Rooney says. “Yes, everything is more, but everyone knows that.”
The City of Ottawa has again relaxed patio rules for this season and has waived fees. Patio business is an important part of survival, no matter the drink.
“I like warm weather to some degree, but I like my coffee,” says Garry Greenland, who sipped a hot coffee on the Broadway patio. “So I’m not going to give up my coffee for hot weather.”
So far, this early heat wave has been the weather most people have longed for all winter.
“Never too hot,” says Turcotte. ‘Too moist. But it’s never too hot.’