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4 Sisters expands outdoor dining options with heated bubbles

Kaitlyn Riley

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Thinking outside the box, 4 Sisters Restaurant in La Crosse offered customers a new option to dine inside their comfort bubbles.

Like many local businesses, 4 Sisters Wine & Tapas Restaurant felt the impacts of COVID-19 and restrictions because of the pandemic.

“It has been very slow compared to previous years,” General Manager Tanner Happe said. “It’s tough to pay the bills when we’re only allowed 25 percent capacity. Every business is struggling right now.”

They were fortunate to have plenty of outdoor seating in the warm months that could adequately space out restaurant guests as well as catch the attention of those enjoying time in Riverside park.

“This outdoor seating is a blessing, and we are very lucky with the location,” Happe said.

As colder temperatures blow in, he had an idea to continue outdoor options in all seasons. A vendor described outdoor dining bubbles that were being used in the Twin Cities to give guests a protected dining experience. When Happe brought the idea to the sisters, they ran with it.

“We wanted to get people in here, and with the limited seating inside, we had to think of different ways to bring in revenue,” he said. “It is cool. It is safe. It is something different.”

The bubbles are heated and decorated to fit the style of the restaurant with twinkle lights and blankets over each chair for guests. Happe said they wanted to make their guests feel at home.

“It all adds to the 4 sisters experience,” Happe said. “It is more than just the food and the great drinks. It is the atmosphere and the ambience.”

So far, the idea has been a hit among customers.

“I did not expect it to take off like that,” Happe said. “It is amazing. Everyone out here has loved it. There has been a lot of trial and error, but every day, we are getting better. We are figuring out different ways to go about doing it to make the guest experience the best it could be.”

Happe was optimistic about the popularity of the bubbles once Rotary Lights begin in Riverside Park after Thanksgiving.

“It is going to be the best place to eat,” Happe said.

The bubbles are available by reservation.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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1 Comment

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    Jenna

    November 12, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    Would have been nice if Restore Public House could have been credited with the original idea of the igloos, seeing as they had them last year and do so as well this year.

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