Newburgh restaurant prepares for winter months during a pandemic


NEWBURGH, Ind. (WEHT) — As 2020 comes to a close soon, the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down. The community has seen the virus impact on their daily lives including eating at local restaurants. As small businesses struggle to stay open, The Wine Down in Newbugh is preparing for the winter months with new seating arrangements.

“I miss being around a lot of people,” said The Wine Down co-owner Chya Colbert.

For Chya Colbert and her husband John, The Wine Down is a family affair.

“I’m very appreciative of our regulars,” said Chya Colbert.

The two opened The Wine Down just over two years ago and business was steady. Then the pandemic hit.

“But if things don’t change and, I just don’t know how small business owners will be able to stay open,” said Chya Colbert.

The Colberts put precautions in place, wearing masks, spacing tables, offering carry out and outdoor dining.

“We started doing specials on the weekend that aren’t on our regular menu, said The Wine Down co-owner John Colbert. “And they’ve been really popular. We’ve had a lot of our regular customers support us.”

As temperatures drop, the two want to continue outdoor dining. The problem is it gets a little cold in Newburgh in the winter. So they invested in igloos.

“So it’s just a PVC structure  that you put together kind of like a big Tinker Toy which I love, said John Colbert.

John says the dome comes with a cover to trap heat during the day so customers stay warm inside at night.

“It knocks down the wind first of all,: said John Colbert. “And it stays nice and cozy in there. So it’s nice. Even cuts down the noise a little bit.” 

The igloos can seat six to eight customers.

“Feel like you’re sitting at home”, said Chya Colbert. “So it’s a little more personal. You get to sit with your friends you feel comfortable.”

To make you feel at home, Chya repurposed used furniture and other decor for customers.

“It’s really fun,” said Chya Colbert. “We like it.”

The Colberts are hoping the investment in the igloos pays off as the pandemic continues into the upcoming winter months.

“Really think it’s going to be a struggle for all of us,: said Chya Colbert. “I mean we hope to stay in business. It’s kind of hard. We bought the building so if we go out of business we still have to pay the rent.”

As the two navigate the virus along with other small businesses in the Tri-State, they offer this advice.

“Now is not a time to be selfish,” said Chya Colbert. ” I mean you have to support each other or we’re not going to make it.”

The Colberts have installed two igloos so far with another on the way.

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(This story was originally published on Nov. 12, 2020)

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