We looked at each other and thought, for December. in Michigan, this isn't bad. Outdoor seating at our favorite restaurant.

While the governor has put the kibosh on indoor dining - an effort to help keep the number of Covid-19 infections from skyrocketing even more - some enterprising eateries have set up heaters, while others igloos and tents, and have made eating and drinking outside a reality this year.

It's hard to say just how many places in the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek area are doing this, but the West Michigan Tourist Association sent out a list of places around the region that have set up outdoor dining and while it's not many, there are a few favorites on the list.

The one I'm most familiar with is Nisker's Hockey Bar and Grill on the west side, at Drake and West Main. Their outdoor seating has room for three tables, to socially distance comfortably. This is a chance to still enjoy what is arguably the best burger in Kalamazoo (and don't forget the poutine, because that might even be better.) and visit with friends in a safe manner.

The patio torch gives off enough heat to keep you toasty. The only thing to keep in mind is, if you stay, say, over an hour, your back side gets cold, so move around, turn around, etc, so you don't get that deep cold feeling. But on days when the weather is quiet, this is a great option.

If you're going to be in the Grand Rapids area, there are dozens of places doing outdoor seating, including New Holland's Knickerbocker, which has fire pit like heaters set up. Greyline Brewing on the west side has a tent (with good food and some sneaky great beer) and Perrin's has a set up too. Here's the long list of locations to check out there. Keep in mind, many of these locations are using a reservation system, plus they need time to disinfect after use, so call ahead.

There will be outdoor strolling for New Year's Fest in Kalamazoo, and downtown Kalamazoo has already set up an outdoor refreshment district. The key as temperatures drop even more is having a heating source. That makes all the difference, though if the temperature falls to single digits, it's hard to believe anything will be warm enough. We can hope that by then, between the vaccine being distributed and people being careful, maybe indoor seating will slowly be allowed again, sooner rather than later.

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