We’re just gonna start out by saying this about the past year: Yuck.
We all know it was lousy, and some of the lousy parts still aren’t past us yet. Some of it we’ll be more than happy to forget.
But here’s something we’ll never forget: We are SO GRATEFUL to our wonderful Sip community — customers at both our Scottsdale and Arcadia locations — for giving us a reason to keep the lights on and the coffee hot with online orders for delivery or pickup. We know many, many of our friends in the restaurant and hospitality business weren’t able to do the same, and it was you Sipsters who made the difference for us. We can’t say thank you enough.
It’s been kind of funny lately, though. Since things started to get back a little closer to normal and people started getting a little more comfortable getting out, we’ve been getting calls asking, “Is Sip offering coffee shop outdoor seating right now?” Well, yes, we are. But you know what?
We had it all along.
Dark times, dark rooms
Outdoor dining became a thing during the more recent part of the pandemic. And with good reason. In a lot of places, across the U.S. and worldwide, restaurants of all sizes were ordered to keep their doors closed. They could deliver, and after a while they could provide carryout meals. But dining rooms were off limits. No wonder some of them started trying to follow the model of coffee shop outdoor seating.
This was new territory for some of them. In February, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered New York City’s restaurants to close for a second time, many of them got creative. The New York Times published a story titled, “At New York Restaurants, It’s the Season of the Yurt.” Yurts, which lots of people had never heard of, are based on the huts that have been used for millennia as housing on the plains of Mongolia.
City-bred versions started going up on the sidewalks of the Big Apple — so many of them that we said, “NYC’s restaurants are in for a world of yurt!”
Actually we didn’t say that because it seemed kind of mean to joke about their predicament. Also because it’s a bad joke. And also because it was our predicament at Sip, too, except with Phoenix weather we can go yurtless.
That’s the only way some of those restaurants got by — even some really fancy places that wouldn’t have dreamed of asking their customers to eat outside in normal times. People were desperate for a nice meal out. They were making reservations weeks and weeks in advance to eat on the sidewalk. And restaurants did their best to make it special because they sure needed the business.
Here at Sip, we also had customers who were more than happy to sit outside … just like they always could.
Coffee shop outdoor seating is part of our concept
A few weeks ago in this blog we wrote about Sip being our version of the neighborhood cafes you find in cities and towns around Europe. Many of these aren’t just coffee shops, like Sip isn’t. But because that’s what you might find people stopping in for anytime of day — to sit on the patio with a latte or espresso — the kind of tables you find out front have come to be associated with “coffee shop outdoor seating.” Little spots like that have a long history. They’re also commonly known as sidewalk cafes.
Sip isn’t quite that, either. Our outdoor tables aren’t on the sidewalk. Both Sip locations, the Coffee and Beer House and the Coffee and Beer Garage, have front patios. (You wouldn’t want to be on the sidewalk anyway. Too close to the street.) But the feeling is the same: You’re out there enjoying the neighborhood. And our weather means you can choose to sit out there for a lot more of the year than you could in other places.
And some of you did! You probably won’t understand when we tell you how good it was to look out there from a big empty space, when our dining rooms were still closed, and see … customers! Sipsters! Our community!
Really. It helped us get through some of those tough days.
So that gave us an idea.
The best of both worlds
We know everybody’s glad things are getting back to normal; that you can go out to eat by going in to eat. We’ve all missed that.
But you know what? That coffee shop outdoor seating on our patios is really nice; really special. Why should you be forced to choose? So here’s what we’re suggesting:
Come in (yes, in!) and have a good meal. Then order dessert and maybe some coffee. But say to your server, “Y’know … it’s really nice outside right now. And those tables look like fun. Would it be OK if we had our dessert and coffee out there?” And of course your server will say, “You bet!”
So in one visit to Sip, you can enjoy what you weren’t able to for so long, and you can finish it off with some special time on our patio with good friends, or loved ones, or both. Or maybe just some relaxed alone time.
It’s up to you. Just come in and stay in. Or go out. You can do either. You can do both.
We’ll make your visit special no matter where you sit.