Crafty PR Blitz Hard-Sells Patio Dining

1211216051Ah, those cunning marketing svengalis…they could make torturing puppies sound not-half-bad!

Just when it was shaping up to be another harrowing season of avoiding the outdoor-dining experience—that irritating warm breeze, the hackneyed city skyline, the downright maddening sun-kist floral gardens—the restaurant PR spin machine has spun into overdrive.

First up is Stella, the Italian eatery in the South End, which went the Boloco v. Wrap route by taking the offending word out of the equation completely. A breathless press release cleverly re-brands the patio as a “terrazzino.” Now, my Italian’s a smidge rusty (and the word may well translate to “diminutive sun-tainted hellhole”), but we’re ready to call it: Boston’s population of patio-dodging agoraphobes will become terrazzino junkies by summer’s end. Remember—you read it here first.

A couple streets over, the Beehive’s 300-plus-seat dining room regularly gets filled to capacity, and on weekends the lines stretch halfway down to the next hipster neighborhood. But launching an 80-seat patio? Risky stuff. (Do they think Beehive regulars own sunglasses or something?)

In an unprecedented flourish of strategy, the self-styled jazz-club-slash-bohemian-hangout will launch its outdoor space on May 24 as “The BEEch,” modeled after an actual beach, but, you know, with less sand and more cute punmanship. The proprietors are betting on the “urban picnic theme”—wherein diners choose prêt-à-manger-style “culinary treasures” to be packed into a picnic basket and consumed at the tables—to lure reluctant fresco-ites to brave the great outdoors.

And besides: Who doesn’t adore culinary treasures?