Eating in igloos, bubbles, canal houses

The domes outside of Belfre, 606 N. Genesee St., Delafield, are a cozy, private dining option that customers can’t get enough of.

Outdoor dining has been the safer option when eating out during the pandemic, but the cold weather’s left people wondering how they’ll continue to visit their favorite restaurants.

Luckily, some restaurants have adapted by providing heated outdoor structures. These clear, spacious structures give patrons the chance to be COVID-safe while staying warm. Here’s a guide to socially-distanced outdoor dining this winter.

Bass Bay Brewhouse

The beloved Muskego restaurant, Bass Bay Brewhouse at S79-W15851 Aud Mar Drive, has announced the new “Bubbles on the Bay,” private heated bubbles outside with a view of the lake.

Purchasing the “Bubbles on the Bay” package comes with 90 minutes in your own private structure with up to eight people, two appetizer platters and drinks, and a warm cookie for each person. You can also reserve the “weekend brunch” option that includes bottomless mimosas, a brunch platter and more.

The bubbles have been met with an overwhelming amount of support, leading Bass Bay to offer smaller, weekday packages in addition to its original weekendonly offer. Ryan Oschmann, owner, said that this is because customers always leave pleasantly surprised with the quality and amount of food and drink that they get during their reservation.

“We’re charging for the platters and drinks with the same kind of mark-up that you would typically find in the restaurant,” Oschmann said.

Oschmann said the bubbles reservations are spaced out so that there is maximum time for cleaning each space. He wants the bubbles to serve as a place for customers to feel safe enough to leave their houses without having to go inside a restaurant.

“Plus, with the bubbles on the bay, you can’t really get much better scenery than that,” Oschmann said.

You can reserve your own bubble at Bass Bay at bassbay.resova.us.

Zisters

This isn’t the first year that Zisters, 13425 Watertown Plank Road, Elm Grove, has offered the unique experience of dining inside in an “igloo.”

Last year, the restaurant decided to take advantage of its spacious patio and give patrons a chance to have a private dining experience with the heated igloos, and it was a huge success.

Betsi Zierach, owner of Zisters, said that the igloos are even more popular this year as people want to remain socially distanced during the pandemic. She credits the outdoor dining’s success to the privacy it provides.

Zisters is also heavily sanitizing the igloos after each use to ensure safety.

“We wipe all surfaces down and then we have a sanitizer gun that sprays through everything else that’s inside,” Zierach said.

Zierach loves watching how much people enjoy the igloos.

“People have so much fun out there, which is always nice to see, especially after everything (going on) this year,” Zierach said.

To reserve an igloo for up to eight people, go to reserveyourigloo.com.

Belfre

Belfre, 606 N Genesee St., Delafield, is another restaurant that’s ahead of the curve when it comes to heated outdoor dining.

Last year, Belfre introduced their heated, outdoor domes, garnering tons of success. This year, the domes are back open, available for reservations.

Beyond just the unique, private experience, reserving a dome comes with special perks.

“We have a few offerings for the dome that we don’t offer inside; food-wise, we do have a fondue package that people love, so that’s been a reason why people love our domes,” said Amy Quinn, owner of Belfre.

Quinn explained Belfre’s COVID-19 precautions for the domes, including leaving plenty of time between reservations to sanitize everything inside the dome, and the dome itself.

“We also have air filters in each dome, so we feel confident that we’re doing everything we can to keep people safe and our servers safe, as well,” Quinn said.

To reserve a dome, go to exploretock.com/belfrekitchen.

Café Hollander

All of Lowlands Groups’ seven locations have implemented outdoor heated structures, including Brookfield’s Café Hollander at 20150 Union St. Café Hollander’s heated outdoor dining includes a pop-up bar and nine canal houses on the rooftop. Up to six guests at a time can dine inside a “house.”

Reservations come with a “Snackeutrie Box” of your choice, as well as a pre-ordered family meal and beverage package.

Staggered reservation times allow for time to sanitize the canal house before the next group comes in. Each canal house is sanitized with a fog atomizer machine that sprays a fog that kills bacteria.

To reserve your own canal house, go to explore tock.com/cafehollanderbrookfield.