NEWPORT FOOD SCENE: Make a special night out this winter a night in — an igloo

Why is it we have only one day a year devoted solely to sharing a meal with family and friends and for offering thanks? It seems like this is something we should do more often.

Sure, we sit down together at the other holidays, but those come with traditions where the meal is almost an afterthought. At Thanksgiving, the meal and the gratitude are the stars. They’re the reasons for the season(ings).

This shared enjoyment and gratitude shouldn’t be something reserved for holidays. These days, we need to recognize any night we spend (and eat) together is special. We’re living through a once-in-a-generation event, and the burden and heaviness of how it has affected our community is still on our shoulders.

Dan Lederer
Dan Lederer

We must remember how many families are missing loved ones this year. How the last two years have shaken so many of us to our core. Any time we get to share a meal with each other, at home or out, we should be grateful. Thanksgiving every day.

It isn’t difficult to make a night out special. It takes only the right people and the right attitude. If you are with people you genuinely like and you are served good food and drinks (which the many restaurants around the island can take care of), you have the recipe for a special night out.

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But now we have something coming that can make a special night out even more of an event. Next Wednesday night, The Reef restaurant at Howard Wharf will be hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Erith Outings, a sister-company of Newport Dine Out.

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The company will be partnering with restaurants (including The Reef) to deliver heated igloos for warm and cozy outside dining. It will mean a nice opportunity for our local restaurateurs who want to provide these unique dining spaces to guests, but without the investment in the structures.

Erith Outings is a new company that supplies igloos to area restaurants for the winter season.
Erith Outings is a new company that supplies igloos to area restaurants for the winter season.

Erith Outings will provide the igloos and will earn money as a per reservation charge. For restaurants, this means the ability to expand their dining spaces and offer a unique and cozy experience. Each igloo is thoughtfully designed, providing diners an opportunity to enjoy a luxurious, world-class experience.

It’s a way to make a night out that much more special.

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The Reef will feature about eight igloos on its outside deck. A night out with up to eight friends in a toasty warm igloo in the heart of downtown Newport with the moonlight dancing on the harbor is an experience you won’t want to miss.

We’ve see igloos in Newport before. Gurney’s has them. Malt on Broadway had a few. But making more igloos available throughout the city is going to change our experience of dining under the stars through the winter. We’re grateful to Erith Outings for that.

Kicking off this venture at The Reef is a great place to start, too. Take the already famous Reef experience with its hardy cocktails and inspired International cuisine and add an igloo to its waterside location and you have yourself a special night out.

After we push away from our Thanksgiving tables and loosen our belts Thursday, we should take a minute to appreciate what makes this celebration so special. The food, yes. Definitely the food. But it’s also the people at your table. It’s not about the turkey.

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It’s the belly laughs that come out as you plop the mashed potatoes on your plate. It’s the stories over pie. It’s the togetherness, the shared joy and the gratitude. Let’s make every meal with those we love a day of Thanksgiving. Whether in an igloo or an in-laws, let’s realize how special it is when we have the chance to be together.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Dan Lederer is a Middletown resident with 30 years experience in the food service industry throughout New England. He continues to work locally behind the scenes within the industry and remains a devoted fan of all things restaurant and hospitality related. His column appears on and Thursdays in The Daily News. Cheers!

This article originally appeared on Newport Daily News: NEWPORT FOOD SCENE: Erith Outings igloos at The Reef in Newport RI