Colorado restaurants turn to tents and propane heaters, prepare for winter storm

Food & Drink

DENVER, (KDVR) — With fires burning across the Colorado high country, weekend snow will bring some much needed relief.

But for bars and restaurants, the cold and snow is another blow to struggling businesses. 

“The bulk of all of our business, has been outside,” says Mary McKnabb, the co-owner of Inga’s Alpine Tavern in Denver. “So we’re scrambling to make it happen for the guests outside.”

McKnabb and co-owner Kerry O’Brien can only seat 43 people inside the bar, but their spacious patio can seat more than 60. 

That’s raising concerns incoming snow and cold could cut their business in half. 

“We’re getting a lot bit nervous, actually,” says McKnabb. “We’re trying to get heaters, tents, whatever we can do, to survive the winter.”

On Saturday, McKnabb and O’Brien purchased four propane heaters for the patio. 

They hope the expense will keep customers comfortable throughout the winter.

“We need them, we need them to come,” she says. “We’re going to need that support. We’re going to need it desperately in the winter months.”

Across town at the Blake Street Tavern, owner Chris Fuselier purchased a 20 foot snow-rake to protect his outdoor beer garden. 

“We have to make sure we continue to get the snow off the tent, so it doesn’t collapse,” he says. 
The beer garden can seat more than 100 people, making up roughly a third of Blake Street’s COVID capacity. 

“It really saved our business,” says Fuselier. “We hope that it saves our business for the winter time.”
Fuselier plans on adding heaters to the tent in the coming weeks, but those heaters won’t be available Sunday. 

“Tomorrow’s going to be really interesting because we’ve got the Broncos game against the Chiefs,” he says. “So we’ll see how willing people are to go into the tent without heat.”

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