Originally published in Maine magazine, February 2021.
As the temperatures dropped in Maine, propane heaters and blankets became the must-have accessories for dining out. Some restaurants have taken an extra step and constructed igloos, fish shacks, and other creative ways to keep diners feeling safe while eating. Here’s a list of 10 spots around the state that are helping to make dining outdoors in a Maine winter a little more comfortable.
Batson River Brewing and Distilling | 12 Western Ave., Kennebunk | 207.967.8821
Get cozy at this brewery and distillery’s tasting room in one of six fish shacks that are far cuter than anything you’ll see on a pond. The heated shacks seat up to eight and can be reserved in advance. Flip the flag on the outside of the shack to alert your server that you’re in need of another round.
Chaval | 58 Pine St., Portland | 207.772.1110
Heated greenhouses on the back patio of this West End restaurant let you enjoy Chaval’s French- and Spanish-inspired menu with less risk. Reserve one for dinner or a weekend brunch when you can enjoy a basket of chef Ilma Lopez’s famed pastry, a soft-boiled egg, and a mug of Speckled Axe coffee.
Rising Tide Brewing Company | 103 Fox St., Portland | 207.370.2337
This East Bayside brewery has worked hard since reopening in June to provide a comfortable outdoor environment for guests. Heated bubble tents and open-air patio seating around fire pits is the latest iteration. Reserve a bubble and enjoy wood-fired comfort food from Fire and Company with your brew.
The Thirsty Pig | 37 Exchange St., Portland | 207.773.2469
Enjoy the Pig’s vast selection of sausages and craft beers on its expansive back deck in the heart of Portland’s Old Port. Newly constructed ice huts, enclosed on three sides, offer a respite from the chill. Snag one of four huts on a first-come, first-served basis.
Terlingua | 40 Washington Ave., Portland | 207.956.7573
Terlingua has reopened down the street from its original location, just in time for us to reunite with its house margaritas on the heated back deck. With open-air patio seating, Adirondack chairs around a fire pit, and picnic tables in the Margarita Garden, there’s ample opportunity to enjoy the barbecue and Tex-Mex menu.
Mast Landing Brewing Company | 920 Main St., Westbrook | 207.887.9147
This Westbrook brewery has constructed several heated igloos in front of the brewery and on its back patio. Order beer and food from the on-site food truck Mainstay with your phone, and a server will drop the order on a barrel outside the igloo.
Maine Beer Company | 525 US-1, Freeport | 207.221.5711
The covered patio just off this Freeport brewery’s tasting room is more popular than ever, as customers can now reserve a table. Heaters knock the chill off so you can comfortably enjoy the selection of hoppy ales, along with wood-fired pizza from the kitchen.
Oxbow Beer Garden | 420 Main St., Oxford | 207.539.5178
Oxbow Brewing took over Carter’s XC Ski Center in early 2019, making it perfectly poised as a pandemic activity. Snowshoe, cross-country ski, or fat bike through the trails (gear rentals available on site) and then warm up by a fire pit with wood-fired pizza and the brewery’s funky beers. The brewery’s Portland tasting room also offers heated A-frames over picnic tables.
Odd Alewives Farm Brewery | 99 Old Route One, Waldoboro | 207.790.8406
Reserve a fire pit at this Midcoast farmhouse brewery to stay toasty while you sip a brew. Three different style pits can accommodate groups of various sizes. Wood-fired pizza and snacks are available—don’t skip the s’mores kits for some family-friendly fun.
Cafe Miranda | 15 Oak St., Rockland | 207.594.2034
This Midcoast favorite is known for its extensive menu of globally inspired fare and quirky decor. The new outdoor seating area, dubbed the Flamingo, is a festive spot to wait for takeout or enjoy a meal. Cozy up to a fire pit and have a drink from the full bar with live music on weekends.