Who wants to eat inside in summer? Not me. And not a problem. Soon as the ice has left the sidewalk, outdoor tables take its place—and not a moment too soon. But we can do even better. To make the most of a long summer evening, opt for a proper patio. Some favorite options:
Hugging the river at St. Anthony Main, Aster treats its deckside diners to creative pizzas, well-assembled salads, and cheese/salami plates meant for sharing—as is summer. Live music and drinks specials, too. Life is good.
St. Anthony Main, 125 Main St. SE, Mpls.
Black Forest Inn
The Student Prince is alive and well, and hanging out in a German arbor. Under the grapevines, the Black Forest’s tables are crammed with students (plus those whose student days are long gone), raising steins in faulty harmony. Word of warning: Those Teutonic portions spell disaster to your image in a Speedo.
Black Forest Inn
1 E. 26th St., Mpls.
Summer’s the time for unfancy grilling, and that’s Brasa’s forte. Choose pork or chicken plucked from the rotisserie, then sped to your umbrella table on the cement of the former garage driveway. Today, however, where Fords and Chevvies once were serviced, Brasa services the occupants of nearby condos and a few frat brats from the nearby University of Minnesota campus.
600 E. Hennepin Ave., Mpls.
Duplex and Namaste
Neighbors Duplex and Namaste, both occupying houses of a former century, fill their pillared porches with tables, then scatter more onto the grass (the only grass you’ll encounter on Hennepin). Choose eclectic noshes at the former, and spicy curries next door. Both oblige with generous happy hours.
2516 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls.
2512 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls.
Northwoods meets Northeast on Jax’s patio, an inner-city idyll of pines, blooms, and summer breezes. The rushing stream churned by the onsite paddlewheel provides action for the dining-chair sportsman, as you’re allowed to net your own trout before the chef takes over.
1928 University Ave. NE, Mpls.
Its legendary courtyard serves as a pocket park within Selby/Dale’s patrician bricks, luring crowds of hopeful singles, the hopelessly married, ladies who lunch, and gents who’d rather drink. As soon as the umbrellas open below those patriarchal cottonwoods, summer’s officially here.
374 Selby Ave., St. Paul