Anticipating the number of diners at restaurants during snowstorms mystifies local restaurateurs as much as it mystifies local meteorologists to forecast said snowstorms.
“It can go either way. We can be impacted negatively or people can be out and about more,” said Steve Gilbert, who has owned and operated in Old Bellevue for 17 years. “Kids are home from school. Grownups are not going to work, so they stay around the neighborhood and eat out.”
Or as Redmond’s owner and brewmaster Beaux Bowman puts it, “It seems like some people can’t make it to work, but they can make it to the pub.”
The flipside is that many Eatsiders choose to dine in instead of braving the elements. On Tuesday, for instance, the threat of snow kept many locals home, again, leaving many restaurateurs and business owners as miffed as the meteorologists who predicted snowfall.
“The threat of snow kills business,” said Tom Cottrell, owner of in Bellevue. “It goes down to about nothing. I do a tenth of the business I would do any other day.”
At Black Raven, business was down on Tuesday night for the release of its newest beer, “London Kawing” Best Bitter.
“Our new release nights are usually busy,” Bowman said. “The weather impacted that. But we are not crying in the snow.”
At Sip Wine Bar & Restaurant in Issaquah business remains steady regardless of the weather or fear of inclement weather.
“It’s hit or miss, but for the most part it stays the same,” said Adam Worth, Sip general manager. “We have such a local group of regulars that live close by that the weather doesn’t really affect them.”
Some chefs and restaurateurs say snowy days are the best days to dine out, granted you arrive at the restaurant safely.
“Seattle and Eastside diners are very cautious regarding snow, and with the topography of the area, rightly so,” said Dylan Giordan, the new chef de cuisine at in Kirkland. “But nothing warms the soul like expertly prepared food in an intimate setting. The view of Seattle from Bin on the Lake tonight was stellar.
“Go out! Get taken care of. Let someone else do the dirty work.”
Before you head out in inclement weather, local hospitality professionals suggest calling them to confirm hours of operation or checking on their websites, social media and Patch.
“We’ll let people know the earliest we possibly can if we close early if the weather goes bad,” said Black Raven Brewery’s Bowman.
If you dine at Giordan’s Bin on the Lake, some special dishes may appear on the menu.
"As soon as I heard of the impending snowapocalypse, I got a bunch of lamb shanks,” Giordan said. “Braised meats are the best thing to eat on a cold day. I love cooking seasonally, but I've gotten accustomed to cooking daily, with the weather.”
For Gilbert, it will be business as usual, like it has been for the last 17 years. He’s been open seven days a week, closing only during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“I’m not concerned,” Gilbert said. “We are in pretty good shape. My staff has traction. They can get over here.”