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Heard on the Street: Winter won’t keep people off rooftop patio

November 30, 2017 GMT

One trendy rooftop locale in downtown Rochester is offering a new option for outdoor dining, no matter the temperature.

The answer to how you do something similar to this in the Northland as winter begins rolling in is simple, if unusual.

Faux igloos.

La Vetta, the funky sky-dwelling sibling of the restaurant Terza, at 30 Third St. SE in Rochester, has added five heated “igloo” dome tents to its seventh-floor patio, said bar manager Kelly Radke.

“People absolutely love them,” said Radke of the igloo dining experience.

They started experimenting with the new offering a couple weeks ago. La Vetta officially has begun accepting reservations for the igloos starting at 4 p.m.

There are some rules to enjoying patio dining in a transparent dome on a Med City rooftop.

First, the igloos, which seat up to eight diners, need to be reserved in two hour blocks. And there is a $150 minimum. Assuming there are at least five people eating and drinking in an igloo, that should not be a hard minimum to hit.

“This is all new. We’ve had people in there when the outside temps were in the 20s, 30s and the 50s,” she said.

For folks who aren’t up for eating outdoors, La Vetta also offers indoor seating as does Terza, of course.

The inspiration for the new concept was watching the elaborate La Vetta rooftop patio be unused during Minnesota’s long winters.

“We all put our heads together to come up with something,” she said. “I think it was our GM that came across a restaurant with these igloos in New York. We thought, ‘Why not try that here?’”

Terza and La Vetta, which opened in 2015, both are part of the Nova Restaurant Group. Nova is led by Chef Scott Foster and Pat Woodring, who also are the minds behind the popular downtown restaurants of Chester’s Kitchen & Bar and Pescara.