Polar Vortex Dining Guide: Closings, Specials, More

By Kelly Dobkin  |  January 7, 2014

This just's cold outside. We're in the midst of one of the coldest cold snaps of the century, aka the "polar vortex" of 2014, and obviously the shocking subzero temps are having an impact on just about everyone, including restaurants. Our sage advice in general would be to stay home and have some soup, but if you must venture out, we've compiled a mini-guide to help you sort through cold weather specials, closings and more. Check it out below and stay warm out there.

  • Specials

    In DC, Mari Vanna is offering free shots of vodka before 7 PM. Ice luge not included. Also in DC, warm up with chestnut soup and a glass of wine for $10 at celeb chef Spike Mendelsohn's Béarnaise.

    Whenever temperatures dip below 32 degrees, show the bartender the temperature on your phone at Davio's in Boston, Philly and NYC, and an order of spring rolls (from shrimp cojita to buffalo chicken) are on the house.

    In Philly, Union Taco is offering a 10 for $20 taco deal for dine in or delivery to Center City, Old City, Northern Liberties, Fishtown and Fairmount. Taco lovers can choose between or order any combination of ground kobe beef with house made jalapeno queso, pico de gallo, pickled jalapenos, greens and poblano braised chicken with pickled tomatillos, queso fresco, piquillo coulis.

    Also in Philly, The Victoria Freehouse in Old City is running an all-day special of $5 hot toddies or mulled wine.

    In Chicago, free turtle noodle soup with poached egg at Billy Sunday. And free coffee at Firecakes when you buy a donut.

    In NYC, Delicatessen is offering $5 hot toddies until the temperature rises above 32˚F.

    Nationally, gourmet purveyor D'Artagnan is offering 15% off on all things cassoulet.

  • Closings

    Most of the cold weather closings are going down in the Midwest, where temps have dipped well below zero (not counting the wind chill factor). In Chicago, Parson's Chicken & Fish, Jeni's and MK Chicago and Troquet, Old Town Social and Haute Sausage were all closed yesterday, but all of these will reopen with the exception of MK (which will stay closed until Wedsnesday) and Troquet which is closed for lunch but open for dinner. Stay tuned for updates. 

  • What to Eat/Drink

    And now, let's talk about warming up.

    If you're in NYC, check out our complete guide to winter dining which includes fireside dining, warm dishes and drinks and ski-themed eateries.

    In Philadelphia, here's a guide to restaurants with warming fireplaces. In Chicago, scope out this handy guide to hot chocolate, much needed right about now!

    In ATL, which is perhaps experiencing the biggest temperature shock, we suggest you venture out for a bowl of seafood gumbo at The Optimist. Made with a dark New Orleans-style roux, this spicy soup has andouille sausage, crab claws, shrimp and fresh oysters. No need for extra hot sauce.

    Across the U.S. here's a guide to some warming soups (also see our guide to Asian noodle soups) and a look at some delicious warm cocktails.