Deb Braman needed help. Though she and her two dear friends, Marla Shyken and Suzi Tozer, had gotten into a rhythm last summer and fall of meeting up for socially-distanced meals and conversation at Faust Park, once the weather turned cold, they were forced indoors. They tried to keep the tradition going with weekly Zoom meetups, but it just wasn’t the same, and the three noticed that the pandemic-induced isolation was beginning to take its toll on their mental well-being.
Braman knew there had to be a good number of restaurants with heated patios in the St. Louis area that could provide her and her friends with a safe and warm-ish place to eat and chat – and though she didn’t know of many herself, she knew who would have the answer, social media.
Braman posted a simple question. Any recommendations for heated patios at local restaurants? Within no time, her post had numerous replies, some going so far as to give details about types of heaters, locations and other information about the restaurants. Armed with the information, Braman called up one of the suggestions, Billy G’s in Kirkwood, and made a reservation.
“I called them first, and they were very reassuring,” Braman says. “When we showed up, it was crowded because of the beautiful weather, and I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be bad,’ but everyone was masked, and there was a manager making sure everyone stayed further apart. They had heaters and a big tent that was ventilated in big sections, and everyone was following the county guidelines. It was so pleasant, and it made my friends so happy.”
Now with an extensive list of places, Braman is looking forward to trying out as many recommended restaurants as she can. Humbled by the response to her post – and thrilled that she can shine a light on so many businesses taking the precautions to keep their guests safe – she’s just happy she can bring a little joy into people’s lives.
“Sitting on the patio on a sunny, beautiful day, it was like we were the happiest people,” Braman says. “It felt so close to feeling normal. It was the new normal, but we were comfortable with it.”
In addition to Billy G’s, the following are some of the local St. Louis area restaurants referenced in Braman's Facebook post -- plus a few extras -- that are offering heated outdoor dining.
- Café Napoli and Café Napoli II
- Edera Italian Eatery
- Katie’s Pizza and Pasta in Rock Hill
- Olive + Oak
- Rosalita’s Cantina
- Russell’s on Macklind
- Sasha’s on Demun
- Sportsman’s Park