December 11, 2020

Features Transforms Railcars Into Dining Cars for Outdoor Dining

With even colder weather soon approaching, some restaurants like Features Bar & Grill in Downtown Naperville are thinking outside the box.

Railcars to Dining Cars

Two railcars have arrived at their station outside of the restaurant. In partnership with the city, features transformed the railcars into dining cars for outdoor dining.

“This whole thing is ‘what can we do?’ Everybody in town has been trying to think ‘what can we do?’” said Features Bar & Grill owner, Riff Menza. “So it’s just trying to stay alive.”

The city was looking for ways to help downtown restaurants since they don’t have an outdoor patio or private parking lot space to use.

“It’s important that whatever was built would be able to withstand wind, snow loads, snow plows, things like that and still provide a safe environment for diners,” said Christine Jeffries, president of the Naperville Development Partnership.

Safety Precautions

Plexiglass is set up between each table the heating unit that keeps customers warm constantly recirculates the air, and the sliding door and windows will stay open.

Jeffries said though it’s enclosed, they are following state guidance.

“Whether it’s sliding doors, windows, or sliding windows. If you have a wall that opens 30 percent, you can seat people just inside and that meets the guidelines for outdoor dining,” said Jeffries.

Hop On Next Week

Menza hopes customers can hop on their polar express sometime next week, with a third railcar arriving then as well.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.

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