Not yet comfortable dining indoors? These restaurants have extended patio season in Champaign, Urbana, Philo and St. Joseph
We know our readers are eager to support local restaurants. Even as the weather turns cooler, some customers are still looking for the opportunity to dine outside. With help from our readers and other resources, we have put together this list of Champaign-Urbana area restaurants with heated outdoor seating.
As more restaurants add heaters throughout the fall/winter, be sure to revisit this list as it grows.
Please note, this information is subject to change without notice. We do our best to keep this info up-to-date, but restaurants often change course. When in doubt – call ahead before you go.
Thank you for your help — please email us if you know of an establishment with heated outdoor seating that we have missed.
While some restaurants are working to keep diners outside comfortable, we know that others are working to make their indoor dining rooms safer for both patrons and servers alike. Farren’s and Cafe Kopi, both in downtown Champaign, recently installed UV air filtration systems, and other restaurants are updating their HVAC systems to improve indoor air quality. Shoutout to all the establishments doing this hard work to keep us well fed – and most importantly, safe.
A few tips before you go for outdoor dining in cooler weather:
1. Some places are taking reservations for outdoor dining. Call ahead, because you don’t want to be waiting too long.
2. Look at the menu before you go, and be prepared to order. Many restaurants have their menus online, or again, call ahead. Some restaurants are offering contactless menus.
3. BYOB. In this case, bring your own (washable) blankets. Need hand warmers? Get them online in bulk.
4. Do you tailgate? Or sit outside at football/soccer/other athletic events? Outdoor dining isn’t much different. Approach your attire carefully. Wear layers. Most people don’t want to eat in their coats.
5. Here’s our biggest tip for spending extended periods of time outside: be sure to invest in a lot of cozy headwear and footwear this winter. Warm hats and socks will be key to staying comfortable.
Champaign-Urbana Restaurants With Heated Outdoor Dining
Baxters American Grille, 100 Trade Center Dr., Champaign
Big Grove Tavern, 1 E. Main St., Champaign. Big Grove Tavern has always been one of our favorite places for outdoor dining, especially when the kiddos are around. See the photo below, via the Big Grove Tavern Facebook page, to see how it has adapted to the times – and still remains a dining destination.
Bunny’s Tavern, 119 W. Water St., Urbana. Bunny’s has a large tent with heaters for plenty of outdoor dining.
El Toro at the Fields, 3401 Fields South Dr., Champaign FYI: While we have heard reports of heaters at El Toro at the Fields, they don’t seem to be out every night.
Fiesta Cafe, 216 S. 1st St., Champaign – “Fiesta Cafe permanently installed heat on their patio even before the pandemic.” “It was quite cozy even though we were outside. Extra bonus was that our food was served piping hot!”
Hamilton Walker’s, 201 N. Neil St., Champaign
Houlihan’s, 1900 S. 1st St., Champaign. “Houlihan’s has outdoor heaters and a fire pit for outdoor dining.” Its patio has always felt like an oasis; even more so now. See photo below.
Kofusion, 1 E. Main St., Champaign
Lodgic Everyday Kitchen, 1807 S. Neil St., Champaign – “Everyday Kitchen has patio heaters and hand warmers!”
Nando Milano Trattoria, 204 N. Neil St., Champaign
Philo Tavern, 101 Washington St., Philo
The Wheelhouse, 109 N. Main St., St. Joseph. The Wheelhouse has a heated tent on the patio – and one of the most inventive menus in town. (See below)