Heated outdoor dining places around Milwaukee

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Cafe Benelux is located in the Third Ward and offers six well-heated domes on the rooftop patio.

With temperatures falling, there are some restaurants near Marquette cranking up the heat in their outdoor dining spaces to limit the spread of COVID-19. The whole idea behind this is to provide a sort of bubble for you and your friends while you venture out to different restaurants.

The pandemic has forced a lot of businesses to adjust their safety protocols in order to comply with state and federal health regulations. The food industry has seen significant changes here in Milwaukee, which has been hit hard by the virus. But here are some local restaurants that are providing customers with warm outdoor spaces for enjoying your favorite food. All reservations to these places can be made online with the exception of The Wicked Hop.

Cafe Benelux 

This is one of the most popular restaurants for students. Located in the Third Ward next to the Public Market, Cafe Benelux is a typical spot to go to when your parents come to visit. During the winter, they have six well-heated domes on the rooftop patio. Each dome can seat up to six people and can be enjoyed for 90 minutes alongside a select menu of some festive drinks and bites of your choosing. Everyone in the party also receives a complimentary “Lux Domes” mug as part of your reservation. It is a fun, safe option for students that is just a mile or two away.

The Wicked Hop

Go right across the street from Cafe Benelux and you will find another restaurant with outdoor seating. The Wicked Hop has tables on their patio with heaters above to keep customers warm. They are known for their weekend brunch menu but also have options for lunch, dinner and Friday fish fry. If you venture over to their website, you’ll see that they have the “best bloody mary in Milwaukee,” according to On Milwaukee and the Shepherd Express. Both Cafe Benelux and the Wicked Hop aren’t too expensive and have options that are more affordable for students.

Tre Rivali 

This restaurant is located on the first floor of the Outsider Hotel, which is completely inside. But for dinner, they move to the top of the hotel and onto the rooftop patio. There they have firepits, socially distanced tables and breathtaking views of the Milwaukee skyline. It’s a little further south of Cafe Benelux and The Wicked Hop, but is still located in the Historic Third Ward. Tre Rivali is definitely on the pricier side, but the views and good food can be worth it.

Zócalo Food Truck Park 

Zócalo Food Truck Park is a fun option if you are looking for a more casual dining experience. Zócalo has a variety of food trucks, including Mazorca Tacos to Modern Maki. You can try them for takeout, or reserve one of their 10 heated greenhouses that seats up to six people. This spot is located on the south side of the city, just past the Harley-Davidson Museum and the Iron Horse Hotel. It’s only a five-minute drive by car, and less than a 20-minute bus ride.

Kegel’s Beer Garden 

Known in the summer as “Kegel’s Beer Garden,” this restaurant has now transformed into “Kegel’s Brrr Garden” in response to their safe, outdoor dining. Here you can reserve one of their yurts, which is a large circular hut that seats anywhere from six to 12 people. It is a great spot to go with a group of friends, while also being socially distant from others. Kegel’s is located in West Allis, only 10 minutes west from campus by car and 25 minutes by bus. They have several cheap food options as part of their “under $12” menu.

All of these restaurants require masks upon entry and exit, and if you get up to use the bathroom. If you plan on attending, remember to always be aware of how you are feeling. Do not attend if you or anyone else you plan on going with is sick. However, all locations may be fun and safe places to enjoy a meal out with your friends.

This story was written by Quinn Faeth. He can be reached at quinlan.faeth@marquette.edu.