(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Diners again this year will not have to brave the elements while eating a meal lakeside on the Bayfront.

The heated igloos have returned to the Sheraton Hotel’s Bayfront Grille. They’re serving up modern American cuisine, and they’re keeping customers warm while doing it.

From within the igloos, diners can take in Presque Isle Bay, passing ducks on the water, and the Bicentennial Tower without enduring the frigid winter weather. New this year, the igloos are affixed to carpeted platforms. The Sheraton also provides each diner with their own Bluetooth speaker.

“Before we had the (platforms), the wind from the lake would make the igloos take off,” said Daniel Pora, general manager of Sheraton Hotel Erie.

Inside the igloos, the temperature varies between 60 and 72 degrees, and it’s “advisable to wear a sweater,” Pora said. Still, that’s much better than braving the bare elements along the Bayfront in the dead of winter.

Sheraton also has added another igloo this year for a total of six igloos along the patio area. Each igloo seats as many as six people. One of the igloos features a small table with two chairs on one side, and a lounge chair area on the other. That’s intended to provide a romantic atmosphere for date nights or anniversaries.

“We had a proposal in there recently. We seem to get a lot of those,” Pora said.

The view from inside an igloo.

The igloos are available by reservation. Prospective diners should call Bayfront Grille at (814) 454-2005 to check availability and schedule a reservation. As of Nov. 23, breakfast and lunch had several openings, but dinner hours had limited or no availability for every night in December, Pora said.

Sheraton and Bayfront Grille introduced igloos in February 2020. It was before Valentine’s Day. They quickly became popular. Then, in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit all corners of the United States. While indoor dining was shutdown, the igloos remained. By Thanksgiving that year, the igloos were closed as well — “People were afraid to go out at all by that point,” Pora said. That fear faded as the pandemic waned, and the igloos returned.

The igloos were difficult to purchase last year — they’re popular at bars and restaurants throughout the world. But this year, Pora said the supply had rebounded.

Next, the Sheraton in Erie plans to add a giant snow globe. Families will be able to go inside the snow globe for photos.

“That’s the latest craze right now,” Pora said.

The Sheraton is located at 55 W. Bay Road in Erie.