Dinner in a yurt? Bayfield, Ont. restaurant offers unusual winter patio option
Summers are short and winters are long, especially in tourist towns like Bayfield, Ont., which is why the owners of Olio Too have added an authentic Mongolian Yurt to their restaurant.
“We call it our winter patio. It’s something different. If you want people to come to Bayfield in the winter, you have to give them an experience. This is it,” says one Olio Too’s owners, Joanne Oliver.
Oliver and her partner Brent Hillier added the yurt, built with actual yak hair, to their patio three years ago. It’s only up from October to May, but is generally booked solid when it’s up.
“People are coming. We had a group from Sarnia last weekend. People are coming from Kitchener, London and Toronto just to experience the yurt,” says Hillier.
The idea came to them after seeing a similar set up at a pub in Toronto. They thought it would work at their new restaurant in Bayfield, to help attract diners during the, usually slower, winter months.
“We want the yurt to be well known. We want people to leave happy and I can tell you everyone that comes out has a smile on their face,” says Oliver.
With seating for 18 people, Oliver says the yurt has seen a lot of family bookings for special occasions, but is open to smaller groups, as well.
“It’s just a different experience you don’t get anywhere else. Where else can you sit in a yurt and have dinner and some drinks,” says Hillier.