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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Strong

10 Ways to Keep Warm while Dining Outside This Winter

Pack your bag (and support restaurants) even when it’s chilly

We’ve had a rather warm fall, which has made it relatively easy to dine outside, but temps are starting to drop and it’s going to get frigid soon. While the best way to support restaurants would be the passage of the Restaurant Act, until then, we’re committed to dining outside.

As they say somewhere in Scandinavia — there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Same goes for dining out. Even if you can’t find a heated patio or garden (my recent faves are HiHi Room, La Cigone, La Mercerie, and Leyenda) or cozy yurt, if you pack up this list of 10 essentials you’ll be toasty warm and all set for a brisk night out under the stars.

Get one of each for your fine self but also think about picking one or two off this life for those you love to dine out with—these also make great stocking stuffers!

P.S. If you’re a restaurant that is in need of heaters, read this to get info on a grant that will have them delivered to you free of charge (or reimburse you for the ones you’ve already purchased!)

The List

1. Portable Heater: Pop this one under your table to keep your legs and feet toasty warm. It shuts off if it tips over or gets too hot.

2. Seat Cushion Warmers: Have a seat on one of these and protect your tushy from icy cold chairs all winter.

3. Toe and Hand Toasties: These are compact enough to fit into gloves or shoes to keep your extremities warm. Hand warmers provide up to ten hours of warmth and heat to between 135° and 156°F. Toe warmers provide over six hours of warmth and heat to between 100° and 107°F.

4. Cozy Throw: There are dozens of options in this category. This one from Uniqlo is designed for cold temps. Or go for this one from Crate & Barrel. Both are nice and warm, washable and affordable.

5. Smart Wool Socks My brother David has been wearing these for decades it seems, and has always extolled the virtues of SmartWool. I’ve finally gotten on the bandwagon and I’ll never get off. Thin, comfortable, and incredibly warm, these are a game changer for winter walks, outdoor running and your favorite al fresco meal. Get a few.

6. Warm Shoes: Pick up a pair of thermal boots or warm and wooly shoes.

7. Hat: We lose most of our heat through our heads, so be sure and pull on a warm one. I tend to like this one from Lily boutique in Brooklyn. There are so many styles — this one from LL Bean, or a classic cashmere beanie, but my favorites come from Global Goods, which aims to bridge gaps, open doors and provide opportunities for artisan women to join the international marketplace. Get this one with a pom-pom on top.

8. Gloves: You need warmth and touch-screen capability in gloves, so try these from Land’s End.

9. A thermal base layer: These heat-tech leggings and tees from Uniqlo are not only affordable but they are super thin brilliantly warm.

10. Carry-All Tote: You need a somewhat stylish way of schlepping all this to your dinner. While a Claire V clutch may be good for lipstick and your phone, it ain’t gonna cut it with a portable heater. Get this one is a classic that will hold everything.


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