If you’ve ever gone to a restaurant and decided to eat outside, you have decided to dine al fresco. “Al fresco” is Italian for “in the cool air”. Al fresco dining was said to have started in the Middle Ages. Hunting parties would often eat under the open sky before beginning their hunts. In the 18th century, the American picnic began to gain traction with the ideation of the pleasure garden, giving way to Germany’s iconic biergarten. The automobile gained popularity, as did weekend trips to the country with a picnic basket. Meanwhile, on the western American frontier, cowboys grilled their meals outdoors during arduous cattle drives. In 1720, European sidewalk cafes (specifically, in Venice) were the first to innovate the idea of patio seating but it wasn’t until the 20th century that al fresco dining at restaurants started to catch on in the States.
Dining and the COVID Blues
Dining this way used to only be a popular dining option during warm summer months. However, as more states have banned indoor restaurant seating to stymie the spread of COVID, al fresco has become the only way to dine.
Fewer and fewer patrons will frequent restaurants at temperatures drop. As most restaurants only offer outdoor onsite dining, this will likely have a negative impact on business. Fortunately, Los Angeles is blessed with warm, beautiful weather year-round, even during the chilly months. For some, it may be still too cold to partake in a meal al fresco. At this point, you might be wondering how you can continue to support local restaurants when it’s too cold to eat out. Many restaurants in WeHo offer take out and delivery, so we recommend this option for LA’s more cold-averse denizens.