FARGO - As the temperatures start their annual dive toward Arctic Circle territory, a West Acres mall dining favorite is introducing an idea that sounds pretty cool.

CRAVE American Kitchen & Sushi Bar is offering a snow globe turn on fine dining by introducing the Holiday Igloo Dining Experience.

Four modern dome-shaped “igloos,” with bistro lights, heaters and holiday decor are already set up on CRAVE’s outdoor patio, and the concept is getting a warm reception with diners reserving times early, General Manager Joe Brown said Thursday, Nov. 12.

Joe Brown, general manager of CRAVE American Kitchen & Sushi bar at Fargo's West Acres mall, stands by one of four "igloos" the restaurant has set up on its outdoor patio to offer a "cool" dining experience between Nov. 22 and New Year's Eve. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)
Joe Brown, general manager of CRAVE American Kitchen & Sushi bar at Fargo's West Acres mall, stands by one of four "igloos" the restaurant has set up on its outdoor patio to offer a "cool" dining experience between Nov. 22 and New Year's Eve. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)

In two days, 30% of the reservations from Nov. 22 to New Year’s Eve have been booked with “no prior advertising,” Brown said.

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Brown said West Acres officials approached CRAVE with the idea.

“It’s just a really cool idea,” Brown said. “It’s something we wanted to do. … I don’t think anyone else in town is doing anything quite like it.”

The early reception has been so good that CRAVE is ordering more globes for some of its other restaurants, he said.

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A trial run that was also used to film a video to publicize the Santaland experience went well.

“It’s a really cool environment,” Brown said, adding that a snowfall might present a magical “snow globe” effect.

The plastic PVC pipe domes are covered with a plastic that blocks the wind and holds heat well. The domes, which can seat up to six, are heated and have performed comfortably to 20 degrees, Brown said. Though customers are encouraged to wear a coat for particularly cold evenings.

The restaurant is also working to streamline service so that food arrives to customers hot, no matter the weather, he said.

Reservations are required for each 90-minute time slot and can be made online through links on the CRAVE and West Acres Facebook pages. Reservations are $150 per igloo, which applies to your food and drink bill on site. However, that is a minimum and any difference will not be awarded back to the customer if the full amount isn’t used on food and beverages during the visit. The difference on bigger tabs is due at the end of the visit. A 20% gratuity is also added to the final bill, before the $150 credit, according to information provided online by CRAVE.

A half hour between reservations is reserved for sanitizing.

Brown said his staff have planned some holiday-themed drinks to go with the dome experience, “kind of in the spirit of the season.”

Also, if domes times sell out and local diners turn out to be more polar bears than snowbirds, the igloos could potentially stick around past the holidays.

“We’d absolutely love to go into January,” Brown said.