MIDDLEVILLE, Mich. — A restaurant in Barry County has introduced a new approach to outdoor dining, inviting customers to bring their own ice shanties to their parking lot for service.
With state restrictions on restaurants and bars still in effect, the family behind the Sand Bar and Grill in Middleville had been brainstorming ideas on how to expand their outdoor accommodations.
“When we had to close everything down we noticed that people just started coming out here, having drinks, then it turned into them eating their to-go orders out here,” owner Kim Campbell told FOX 17 standing next to the restaurant's massive outdoor fireplace.
“So we thought, how can we make this into a winter lodge-type place, where people can actually get together again and have dinner out, without worrying about breaking the rules or being exposed to something.”
They call the idea Shanty Land.
“This is one of those businesses that if it's not going perfect, there's always something you can do to adjust it, find a way to serve people,” Kim told FOX 17.
Anyone is invited to bring their ice shanty to their lot. If you don't have one, or would rather not bring yours out there, the restaurant has 3 shanties available to rent for a small fee.
Tables, chairs, blankets and bluetooth speakers are provided by Sand Bar and Grill.
“All of our regulars are so supportive. That’s who we would normally have in our building right now. That's who we’re kind of trying to get back here, the people that keep us afloat in the winter," said general manager Brandi James.
If all goes well, they plan to bring back the idea next winter.
“I am just super excited that we are kind of back to normal,” Kim said.
Sand Bar and Grill is always involved with the annual Toys for Tots drive. This year, with fewer people in a position to give, they are stepping up their efforts.
For every toy you donate at their restaurant, you will get a $5.00 gift card to use at Sand Bar and Grill. They are also matching any cash donations made by customers.
In years past, they have turned $500 of donations into $1,000 dollars worth.