Have you ever wondered why eating outdoors felt like the better option? Sometimes, we could feel tired of sitting down in an air-conditioned room and instead have lunch out in the open. It may be psychological, but there is a term for it. Al fresco dining has an interesting origin story in America and continues today, even with majority of the population not knowing what it is.
Al fresco, when translated from Italian, means “in the open air”. Today, Al fresco is more associated with eating outdoors. Restaurants today capture the popularity of eating out in the open, and so can you.
The Origins of Al fresco
Al fresco may not be a popular term in the US, but its meaning is close to the act of eating outdoors.
Most people believe that eating outdoors originated in Coney Island in New York City. The first hotel in Southern Brooklyn opened in 1829 and began attracting tourists because of its seaside location and delicious seafood. Years later in 1884, Coney Island turned into an amusement park with the introduction of a roller coaster. The amusement park’s popularity got the attention of one Charles Feltman.
It was Charles Feltman who made outdoor eating more accessible thanks to his invention of the hotdog. Because of the popularity of the island, Feltman leased property and included outdoor seating. Feltman’s establishments grew so popular that then President William Taft paid the island a visit.
Sadly, Feltman’s establishments are no more, but his legacy continues thanks to Nathan Handwerker. As a former employee of Charles, Handwerker decided to start his own business by selling hotdogs cheaper than what Feltman was offering. Today, the establishment is known as Nathan’s Famous.
The Potential of Outdoor Dining
Spending time outdoors has been proven beneficial to our health, and people love to eat outdoors too! Restaurants that cater to these people make use of outdoor spaces. These spaces give people a less confined feeling and provide them the benefit of choice.
If you’re a restaurant owner and want to expand, an outdoor area may be an option to attract more customers.
1. Your first order of business is providing customers a comfortable outdoors dining experience. Have tables and chairs, set up retractable rolling awnings to protect from the elements, and generate buzz from your set-up.
2. Capture the attention of customers through your unique decor and delicious food. Not only do customers enjoy the fresh air outside, but also advertise your establishment through social media. This makes it easy to market your location and advertise without breaking a sweat.
3. The materials you use for outdoor dining should not only be stylish, but durable as well. Premium plastic materials and aluminum utensils provide the durability needed for outdoor use. For the drinks, copolyester drinkware gives your selection appeal and durability for an open air environment.
Eating outdoors may sound like a gimmick, but is still an option for people to enjoy the view and breathe in fresh air. Eating is a natural part of human activity, and Al fresco encourages people to enjoy that out in the open.
If it weren’t for Charles Feltman, everyone would probably be having dinner indoors, all the time.