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Dining bubbles: Triad restaurant gets creative with outdoor seating

The Porch Kitchen and Cantina in Winston-Salem figured out a way to keep customers warm while dining outdoors.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Would you eat dinner in an igloo, pod or bubble?

Well a Winston-Salem restaurant has them in place to offer a safe outside eating experience as temperatures cool down.

Owner of The Porch Kitchen and Cantina, Clair Calvin, is thinking outside the box, by going inside the bubble.  

Calvin purchased five bubbles, as a way to continue outdoor dining in the middle of a pandemic when temperatures drop, while also keeping a safe distance from those around you.

“It was one of those middle of the night internet purchases that I was like, either this will be great or a lesson learned, but they’ve been fun,” Calvin said.

On a warm sunny day, eating outside at The Porch is perfect, but as the winter months approach Calvin said the bubbles will keep them open since they have such small space inside.

 “We did the calculations for the dining room we would have been able to get like five tables in here,” Calvin said.

The Tex-Mex restaurant only offered grab-and-go meals and minimal outdoor dining until Calvin purchased the bubbles.

Abby Henderson said she’d been avoiding eating out but couldn’t wait to stop by The Porch to break in their dining bubbles.

“We feel nice and comfortable in here. The weather is perfect today, of course, but I can see how it would be nice even in the winter and retain some of its warmth,”  Henderson said. “It’s nice to know we’re in our own space and our air is our air but we can also enjoy our meals.”

The owner said even though everyone has their owned socially distanced bubble both entry ways are open so that fresh air is always circulating, and each pod is sanitized between parties.

The bubbles do not have heaters for safety reasons, but Calvin said they’re naturally about 15 degrees warmer than sitting completely outdoors.

They purchased the garage of a business next door that recently closed that is heated.

“We leave the garage door open and there’s a heater in there,” Calvin said.

Calvin said their future is unpredictable, but she’s hopeful they’ll come out on the other side of the pandemic stronger.  

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