Heated 'luminarias' will bring wintertime outdoor dining to Southwest Detroit restaurants

With the pandemic still putting a stop to indoor dining at restaurants, many are turning to heated patios and outdoor enclosures to create safer dining experiences. The Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) is bringing more to its neighborhood's many restaurants — with a Mexican twist.
"The Luminarias of Southwest Detroit" project will bring 15 custom-built heated outdoor dining structures modeled after luminarias, the small lanterns used to line walkways, churches, and homes during the holidays in Mexican culture. The dining luminarias are eight feet tall and eight feet in diameter and seat parties of up to six.

"The SDBA recognizes the need to provide support to our businesses and restaurant community during these challenging times," SDBA Vice President of Programs and Compliance Jennifer Gomez said in a statement. "This program began as a functional solution for our restaurants, but we are so excited that it now also has become a signature branding opportunity and attraction for the SWD community. This exciting program will provide a lifeline to area businesses, helping owners recover a portion of lost revenue while also creating a one-of-a-kind dining experience that can only be found in Southwest Detroit."

The luminarias will be erected from January through February 2021, starting with Armando's Mexican Restaurant at 4242 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit.

Participating restaurants pay $1,000 for the use of the luminarias. The project was made possible through a $50,000 grant from The Hudson Webber Foundation, along with pro bono design, engineering, and architectural services provided by AptumBuild Solutions LLC and manufacturing by Diseños Ornamental Iron, which built the structures in an accelerated timeline.

"Our roots run deep in Southwest Detroit," Diseños Ornamental Iron President Nieves Longordo said. "In times of great difficulty and daunting uncertainty, we must extend a helping hand to our neighbors. Tumultuous and trying times demand generosity, and Diseños intends to deliver. We will not only be showcasing our rich history and culture through our work but demonstrating that Detroiters stand together. Simply put: we got us!"

More information about the SDBA is available at southwestdetroit.com.

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
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