WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — The beers brew and the heat lamps burn at BriteSmith Brewing Company in Williamsville.
Managing partner David Schutte said the outdoor area was a key part of BriteSmith's business over the summer, and it continues to be. Orange zone restaurants can only do takeout and outdoor dining, with a maximum of four people to a table. The brewery was open for six weeks before the initial lockdown.
"We actually anticipated more indoor dining and outdoor biergarten, more bands, and large parties, people playing games, and things like that, with definitely a little bit of food for sure," Schutte said. "But obviously this summer with the food requirement, it just became more of a patio than it did a real biergarten."
Schutte hopes the fire pit, two overhead bar heaters, and eight standing heaters keep diners coming. He said it would be detrimental to lose outdoor business.
“It’s detrimental in the sense that we go to take out only, which really doesn’t do much for us," Schutte said. "I mean it does a little bit, it keeps the key employees happy and they're still working, and it keeps the community happy and they're very supportive when they do go to just takeout."
Next door, The Irishman Pub and Eatery lost 150 indoor seats after the move to the orange zone. General Manager Maria MacPeek said the outdoor bar transitioned into a dining patio during the pandemic.
“So we have these great heaters, which were here before covid, and they’ve been keeping people warm for two years now," MacPeek said. "So that’s what we do, and pretty much it's the heaters, and dining with your jacket on, and bringing a blanket if you need.”
The first evening since June with no indoor dining was met with mild temperatures, but diners all have their own threshold for when it's time to pull the plug and order takeout. Some diners we spoke with said that threshold was snow, others said 50 degrees depending on the time of day and the wind.
Both restaurants said temperatures won't stop them, if it doesn't stop customers.
“We’ll be out here as long as we stay in the orange, and people are willing to bundle up and come out," Schutte said.
Under state guidelines all restaurants with liquor licenses and bars must close at 10 p.m. for dining, and can do takeout afterwards.