Early Snow Presents More Challenges to Boston Restaurants Relying on Outdoor Dining

Heather Lynch expects the Black Lamb will lose 60-percent of its customers once cold weather closes their South End patio, costing them business and possibly employees.

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Early snow Friday has increased concerns among Boston restaurant owners about a looming end to outdoor dining, something many have been relying on amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

With a lot of empty patios around the City of Boston Friday night -- which saw a record for snowfall in October -- and more likely closing soon, restaurants hope they can still get enough business indoors to stay open.

"I was so sad," Alex Morris, of the Barking Crab, said of the snow. "It’s too early."

Morris is now wondering whether her customers will keep coming to her restaurant in Boston's Seaport District where seating in a seasonal tent will be a permanent fixture until further notice.

"We’ve made some kind of weather-proofing adjustments and kind of battening it down to keep people toasty warm and extend the summer vibe until as long as we can," she said.

But not everyone can give such a hopeful forecast for the winter season.

"I always get so emotional about this," said Heather Lynch of the Black Lamb.

Lynch expects her South End spot will lose 60-percent of its customers once cold weather closes their patio, costing them business and possibly employees.

"You know my job is to take care of the people that work for us, and I can’t do my job so it's really challenging and we just really need some federal support," Lynch said.

But until federal funding is available to these restaurants, Mare Oyster Bar owner Frank DePasquale says they'll take it day by day.

"We're here and we're ready for the challenge," DePasquale said.

Meanwhile, restaurant owners are finding ways to keep warm and avoid closing in hopes they can keep serving customers for seasons to come.

"It’s scary times for hospitality overall but I think people will pull together and we will come out on the other side," Morris said. 

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