Going out to eat has taken on a new meaning during the Covid era. With the surge in outdoor dining, the phrase can actually now be taken quite literally.
Get it? Going "out" to eat?
Many restaurants and bars have capitalized on this, not-so-new phenomenon, by adding outdoor seating to their already established dining areas. Doing so serves a dual purpose. The institution of more dining spaces at restaurants opens up the possibility of serving more patrons in one sitting ultimately generating more revenue. At the same time, it keeps diners outdoors and slows the spread of Covid.
What first started as a warm weather addition to restaurants, has now spread to ski resort establishments. Looking for a way to keep skiers and snowboarders on the mountain, especially after winter 2020-21's exodus, it is an obvious trend for restaurants to capitalize on. One such example is new Stratton Mountain Restaurant, The Drift, which opened Thanksgiving weekend and is now taking the village by storm.
Skiers and Snowboarders Looking to Return to Normalcy
Since the time of the shutdown, ski resorts have been tasked with solving the dilemma of how to keep their crowds on site to dine safely during their ski day. Last year, with fear still very real, many on-mountain restaurant and bars were shut down completely. That led to the resurgence of the après ski tailgate scene. And not that tailgating should ever go away, in the dead of winter, it is nice to have someplace to warm up at.
Now vaccination rates are higher and people are looking to return to some sense of normalcy. Skiers and snowboarders want to get back those post shred beer and nachos scene that they love.
"Last winter, the restaurant world ground to a halt and our new concerns were Social Distancing, Staff shortages, product price increases, supply chain issues and the Overall health of our coworkers, said owner, Pete Christy. So we pivot, he continues. We close the GDP (Green Door Pub) and turn it into a giant ToGo operation. We scramble and have a custom NY city Hot Dog cart fabricated for out front. The Vermont Hot Dog Company is born. This enabled us to survive and thrive last winter. But the writing was on the wall. Outside food and beverage options are the future, at least the foreseeable future."
The Drift Blows into the Stratton Mountain Restaurant Scene
Fast forward one year and enter, The Drift, which came blowing into Stratton Village Thanksgiving weekend. Located just outside of Mulligan's, The Drift is a fully covered and heated outdoor bar and patio.
"It all Starts with Mulligan's, say owner, Pete Christy. Mulligans has been the anchor restaurant in the Village at Stratton Mountain for the last 32 years. They serve Steaks, Burgers, seafood, nachos and all the good fried stuff."
Mulligans may be the cornerstone to this whole operation and to the Stratton Mountain village itself but it is only just the beginning.
"A few years ago we added Snowfish Sushi, our Sushi concept. It runs from a separate kitchen but you can order it anywhere in the building, including the Green Door Pub, says Christy. And the GDP, well that is like that cousin that nobody talks about all year but is the most fun to hang out with when they come to family Thanksgiving. The pub is where we do the fun stuff! Parties, benefits, bands, DJ’s and overall shenanigans!"
With three highly unique concepts such as this, you would think that they have all bases covered. All bases covered, that is, except the outdoor patio.
The Drift's Weatherproof Outdoor Patio Gives Diners Options
In an effort to better prepare for this current winter season, Pete Christy and company broke ground on "The Drift" project last spring. They added a post and beam covering over the primary pre-existing patio. It was then fitted with a standing seam roof, an outdoor speaker system and radiant speakers.
"The Drift is our outdoor upscale Apres Ski bar concept, says Christy. It is also a very welcome addition to his multi-scale Stratton Mountain restaurant concept. Many people want to stay and hang on the mountain but are still a bit wary about eating and drinking in doors. The Drift solves this issue for them by providing skiers and snowboarders at Stratton Mountain the option to hang in a weatherproof and heated outdoor space. "
Although there is no dining option at the bar itself, you can order ToGo food from any of Christy's other establishments and eat there. Or, you can just hang at The Drift watching your kids play in the Stratton Mountain village while waiting for your Mulligan's pager to go off.
Local bartending legend, "Nugget" has plenty of Vermont craft beers available, their famous house-made Bloody Mary and a, newly popular, European drink called The Bomb that is made from eggnog and Brandy to choose from.
The Drift will also host live après ski music regularly on weekend afternoons featuring the likes of popular deejays, DJ Joe Bell and DJ Blinnie.
"We're off to our best start ever, said Christy. And, it is easy to see why.
A Welcome Complement to the Restaurants at Stratton Mountain
The Drift is a welcome complement to the Stratton Mountain restaurant and bar scene. With Mulligan's as the anchor and the Green Door Pub and Snowfish Sushi supporting it in their own unique way, all that was needed was a more reliable place to hang outdoors, especially in the era of Covid. Situation remedied. Covered, heated and full of entertainment, The Drift is already a new hot spot in Stratton Mountain Village and will continue to be for years to come.
Whether you are hanging outdoors at The Drift, eating with your family at Mulligan's or partying late night at The Green Door Pub, you're going to want the best apres ski clothes. No matter what the situation our Raised on Après Ski Hoodie will get the job done. Soft and comfortable, it's the perfect après ski clothing piece to salute the mountain culture you know and love.
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