When the cooler months of this pandemic hit, Restoration Kitchen & Cocktails in Lindenhurst introduced its own outdoor dining option: one huge greenhouse.
Owner Billy Miller said he looked into other alternatives, but didn’t feel other options kept in the heat as well as this.
“Tents never stay warm the way you want them to, they don’t look nice, it’s just kind of a drag,” he said. “We looked into the igloos … you’re only allowed a certain amount on the property, and the construction to run electricity for the heaters just seemed like a daunting task.”
So, Miller thought it would be best to take matters into his own hands — literally. He and his father, who works at Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, built the 72 x 34 foot greenhouse themselves.
Miller said the structure fits up to 180 people, but the maximum capacity is 75 people so those who choose to dine in the greenhouse can dine in distance and safety.
There are 14 different-sized tables, all about 8 to 10 feet part, as well as a propane garage heater to keep the space warm.
The greenhouse includes a full ventilation system, Miller said, so when the temperature hits a certain degree, it pulls out all the air and starts over again.
“The greenhouse effect is something real,” he said. “I thought it was just [something] that you learn in high school, but it really works.”
On warm, sunny days, the sides can roll up to bring in the open air.
During the holiday season, Miller said his wife decked out the greenhouse in Christmas decorations, and so far, the community has enjoyed the experience.
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“Everyone is excited to get out in a place they are comfortable, not just get out of the house,” Miller said, “They appreciate that we are taking the extra steps to make sure everyone feels safe.”
The heated deck that was built last year is also open for dining, though the interior restaurant space remains closed.
Restoration will keep the greenhouse running for as long as its needed, Miller said. Restoration Kitchen secured a 180-day permit. When those days are up, they would have to reapply if need be.
“We built that place to make sure our staff has a job throughout the holiday season,” he said. “Going back to take-out or delivery, or cutting our occupancy down, unfortunately, we would have to lay a lot of them off, so to build it gives them all an opportunity to make money throughout the whole entire winter.”
Top: Exterior of Restoration Kitchen’s new greenhouse.