Silvertip Resort’s outdoor dining space dishes up terrific nosh.
Patios are universally well-liked. And after a brutal winter, members and guests are even more anxious to dine outdoors.
With a massive patio, Stoney’s Bar & Grill at Silvertip Resort, Canmore, Alberta, Canada, offers a worthwhile case study in maximizing the appeal and utility of al fresco spaces.
“Stoney’s main dining room seats between 35 and 40,” says Laura Hansford, Executive Chef. “Our patio adds 120 seats to our operation.”
By nearly tripling in size in warmer months, Stoney’s success lies in both its attractive outdoor setup (see photo, above), as well as its casual, pub-style menu.
Stoney’s cobblestone, wrap-around deck frames both fairway and mountain views, while a marble-topped bar—which happens to be incredibly well-stocked—offers an array of wines, beer, scotches and more to guests as they come off the course. Seating is casual and flexible, both for individual dining parties and for larger groups.
“Guests use Stoney’s as a place to both hang out and to eat,” says Hansford, who changes the menu seasonally. “Even though the seating capacity increases substantially, the size of the kitchen doesn’t. So from an operational standpoint, we have to be especially efficient.”
Stoney’s does this by focusing on simplicity at its finest. Some of the most popular dishes are fish tacos served with housemade coleslaw and fresh cilantro, as well as a handmade cheeseburger made with crispy onions and a smoked bacon jam.
“The pros definitely outweigh the cons,” says Hansford, who has, on occasion, had to help reseat an entire patio full of guests in various banquet and private dining spaces during inclement weather. “Weather can put a huge wrench in how the kitchen and dining room run. But, for the most part, our patio allows us to increase our customer base—and our revenue—throughout spring, summer and fall.”
Gas heaters and tents help Silvertip fight against cold temperatures and light precipitation. Ditto for outdoor fire pits. By the same token, umbrellas and fans help cool off guests when the heat goes up.
“Stoney’s success boils down to organization in the front and back of house,” says Hansford. “The possibilities the patio offers are vast, and limited only by our imagination.”