Clearly our warm weather is waning, but there is still at least a small window of time to get outside and dine safely. Who knows, some spots may be opting for outdoor dining well into the winter months, and we'd welcome the option (it's pretty common in plenty of spots all over the map, friends--just bundle up and consider it a Covid-friendly adventure in dining). A few outdoor heaters can go a long way, and if it means that some of our favorite local restaurants get to remain open in spite of rising pandemic numbers, we're in favor.
Call ahead for hours—and to be sure they're still serving outside—then take advantage of these nice temperatures! Who knows how long they'll be around...
1. Arlo Restaurant: Though we've yet to have the pleasure of eating here ourselves, we've certainly heard our share of positive feedback about Arlo, which recently replaced what was Em's/The Dayroom. And while we're always game to listen to trusted sources where good food is involved, we can attest from our own past experience that the patio here lends itself idyllically to any meal. Mature grape vines line the trellis overhead and verdant foliage on all sides lends a bit of privacy from the street. Add just the right lighting (we're suckers for string lights) and a few patio heaters, and you're set for a good meal.
2. The Rose Establishment: It’s small and nondescript, and that’s precisely what we love about this out-of-the-way spot for sipping coffee. Great for summer mornings—it’s situated on the west side of the building, so it stays cool for some time. Plus, we’ve got a soft spot for establishments that take advantage of vintage tables and mismatched chairs. Always quiet and filthy with the kind of charm you want in a coffee shop patio. Good morning, indeed.
3. Eva: The patio on the east side of this downtown, small-plate spot makes us feel like we’re in a different city—one where space is limited, and the creative use of it culminates in coziness and urban charm. Yes, you’re closer to your neighbors than you might otherwise be, but glancing casually at what they ordered is far less awkward/obvious this way. Plus, we’re suckers for open air and romantic string lights, especially when paired with good pals and tasty share plates. Bon apetit!
4. Ruth’s Diner: If you’re up for a short drive through the early bits of Emigration Canyon, hit up the back patio of historic Ruth’s Diner for some fresh air, fam vibes, and (depending on the day/time) live music. Getting up one of our gorgeous canyons is always sure to lighten your mood—Ruth’s is one of very few places that offers up the opportunity to dine amongst the pines, so to speak.
5. Oasis Cafe: Ooohhh-asis. The patio here is unrivaled, quite frankly. Flanked on all four sides by the restaurant and adjoining Golden Braid book shop, you’re safe from traffic and passers-by. But you do have access to the healthy and delicious menu, a decent wine list, and loads of charm. There are hanging flowers from the “gazebo,” optional shade, and an actual outdoor fireplace for the chillier months (though it’s a tough table to snag…may want to call ahead).
6. Copper Common: Our go-to spot for people watching while we have a cocktail and fries, this patio has a few options we love. Grab a table in the shaded area or you can skrt! around the side for some casual privacy (or a smoke). Feeling more social? Post up street-side on the curved bar—you’ll be greeted, nodded at, or entertained by someone at some point, we promise. ’S a good way to get to know this city’s motley crew.
7. East Liberty Tap House: This is another favorite, thanks to a supremely social locale. 9th & 9th is officially a bustling neighborhood that’s ripe with local shops, good food, and plenty of people. ELTH has a patio for all seasons (think: shade for the sun and fire pits for the chill), and the beer/cider/wine list is blissfully on point. We’ve had successful business meetings and casual hangs, alike, out here. Grab yourself a bowl of elk chili (!) and a beer…you’ll likely be here a while.
8. Finca: What was once Trestle Tavern (and, before that, Fresco), is now officially home to Finca, and this patio is more than ripe for small plates and a good glass of wine. Ivy-lined and well-lit, Scott Evans and Co. made a conscious decision to keep all the charm of the previous restaurant when they updated. As a result, the outdoor space is the perfect accoutrement to your romantic dinner. It’s a partially covered courtyard that feels like it could be in the countryside…cheers!
9. Pallet Bistro: This is another small patio that’s thick with big-city vibes and old-building charm. Having done the interior design for this space, we know how we feel about the inside—this simple, adjacent patio only amplifies our love. Seating for 20 (just enough to feel cozy, not crowded) is accompanied by string lights, planter boxes, and the hum of 300 West traffic (for that downtown ambience). We suggest a Solace + Tonic and the grilled octopus. To start.
10. Current Fish & Oyster: It just feels like the perfect place for rosé and oysters, this patio. Completely covered, so the blazing sun is nary a problem, this former 1930s Ford dealership was beautifully restored, leaving a windowless skeleton of the original structure for the outdoor space (architecturally speaking, we love little else more than the preservation of our historic structures for the purpose of modern use, and this building is no exception). Get some natural white and order up those Kumamotos, already.
11. Trio: Classic patio, this one, and we love it. Trio’s outdoor space is roomy, casual, and has all the makings of summer. Bright yellow and white fabric panels lend a lemonade-in-the-shade kind of vibe, and a semi-circular planter box encloses the space with flowers and foliage. Plus, as it heats up, Trio is one of few places that will rev up the misters, so diners on or near the perimeter stay extra cool. Happy summer.