Last updated on March 11th, 2021 at 02:46 pm
Cafe Benelux in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward has added another private outdoor seating option as diners continue to seek safe ways to go out.
The restaurant, which has served outdoors all winter using heated domes and a street-level porch, has installed a 10-person greenhouse chalet on its rooftop deck. The nine-foot-tall ‘VIP Lux Chalet’ opens today. The rooftop space also houses five ‘Lux Domes,’ which seat up to eight people.
Milwaukee-based operator Lowlands Group introduced winter dome dining to the area in 2018 and, in response to the pandemic, expanded the popular concept to each of its seven area restaurant locations last year. The group was one of several local restaurant operators that invested in outdoor structures this winter to boost business while indoor capacity was limited and consumer confidence remained low.
Lowlands said the chalet at Benelux was added in response to increased demand for small group bookings.
The structure’s larger size makes it “a sought-after location for spring celebrations, including birthdays, bachelorettes, showers and graduations,” Lowlands Group said in a news release. What’s more, the chalet is set up for full dining service; diners are seated at a table and can order from the restaurant’s full menu. Lux Domes has a limited menu focused on appetizers and sharable platters.
Ninety-minute reservations for both the domes and chalet are available through Lowlands’ website. Each reservation includes a complimentary beverage package. Booking the chalet requires a $200 advance fee. During the month of March, the Lux Domes are available at a discounted price of $150.
Lowlands said Thursday that outdoor dining experiences at all of its restaurant locations have been extended through the spring months.
“We have been overwhelmed by the positive response to our outdoor experiences across the company,” said Eric Wagner, CEO of Lowlands Group. “From the canal houses to fish shanties to the Centraal Garden of Eten, it has been wonderful to see our community dining and experiencing the outdoors all winter – a true celebration of the European year-round cafe culture. The Lux Domes at Benelux continue to be a huge draw, and we’re thrilled to add this new element for people looking for another safe experience with the full Benelux menu.”
As part of the company outdoor dining safety protocols, staggered reservation times ensure 30 minutes of ventilation and sanitizing, which includes atomizer fog bombs to target airborne pathogens and bacteria between each use. Inside the structures, industrial heated “blowers” exchange all of the inside air with outdoor air every five to 15 minutes.