Ottawa patios face higher costs as heat wave keeps patios packed

Patios, sunny hot weather, and good food. A perfect combination for restaurants as they continue to recover from COVID-19 lockdowns.

Now they have a new concern; trying to keep a lid on inflation.

Patio season at capacity in Ottawa, an early gift by Mother Nature for Ottawa’s restaurant industry.

"We typically don’t open our patio this early," says Haley Rooney, Greenfield’s Public House operator. "Usually it’s about the first week of June."

The early start to the patio season means a rush to get patios ready, ambience is important. However, some patio furniture has doubled in price over the last two years. 

"We just ordered some furniture. We’re expecting it any day now," says Rooney. "Pricing for everything is going up. So surprised no, but it’s still shocking."

After a cool start to spring, Ottawa is ready for a patio dining experience.

"Spring in Canada. It’s summer, spring and winter all in the same week," says Greenfield’s patron Neil Turcotte. "But this is glorious, I love it."

“Perfect patio weather, yah. Very nice," says Greenfield’s patron Linda Albania. “Haven’t been out for a while, so it’s a good time.”

"It feels so great," says Greenfield’s patron Margaret Granville. "And it feels free after being locked up from COVID after two and a half years."

Over at Broadway Bar and Grill in Nepean, co-owner Mike Cooke grimacing at the high cost of food.

"Food costs have gone up," says Cooke. "Some products are 200 per cent higher than they were a year ago."

"Food is crazy more," says Rooney. "Yah, everything is more, but everyone knows that."

The city of Ottawa has again relaxed patio rules for this season and waived fees. Patio business a key part of survival, no matter what the beverage.

"I like hot weather to a certain extent, but I love my coffee," says Garry Greenland who was drinking a hot coffee on Broadway’s patio. "So I’m not going to give up my coffee for hot weather."

So far, this early heatwave has been the weather that most people have longed for all winter.

"Never too hot," says Turcotte. "Too humid. But it’s never too hot."