Feeling al fresco
Notable spots where you can dine outdoors
Published: May 11, 2011
$=$5-$10; $$=$10-$25; $$$=$25-$50; $$$$=$50+
Anita's Kitchen 22651 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-0680; anitaskitchenonline.com: The food is what really shines at Anita's, but the covered patio is a real treat in the summer, while you nosh on the salads and veggie-intensive appetizers that fill a good portion of the menu. As with most Mediterranean cuisines, Lebanese is considered to be a very balanced, healthy diet. If meat is your thing, you can easily fill up with kebabs or one of a few fish dishes. The ideal sampler is Anita's "mixed mezza" — a plate of hummus, tabbouleh, fattoush, labneh and crunchy pickled vegetables with a touch of heat and a few other plates. There are even a few unique pita pizzas. For a fine finish to a meal, order a pot of Turkish coffee and a tender, not-too-sweet piece of baklava.
Antonio's in the Park 15117 Kercheval St., Grosse Pointe Park; 313-821-2433: Known for traditional Italian cuisine, this eatery's menu includes veal entrées, classic pastas and a variety of seafood dishes. If you don't want to fill up on food, venture to their outdoor seating area for 25 to enjoy a glass of red wine on a breezy summer day.
Arbor Brewing Company 114 E. Washington, Ann Arbor; 734-213-1393; arborbrewing.com: A cheerful brewpub with house-brewed suds and good, upscale pub food, Arbor Brewing Company has a streetside patio with about 10 tables, some picnic-style and some patio-style with umbrellas. A good place to rest your feet, choose from dozens of beers, have an appetizer (or some ribs) and chat with friends while staying in the middle of the action in downtown Ann Arbor. (The people-watching is great.)
Aut Bar 15 Braun Ct., Ann Arbor; 734-994-3677; autbar.com: In the summer months, historic Kerrytown's Aut Bar spills out onto a quiet courtyard. Functioning as a restaurant and a bar, the second level is 21 and older only. And, since 1986, there's been a popular Saturday (11 a.m.-2 p.m.) and Sunday brunch (10 a.m-3 p.m.) and, more recently, even a weekday lunch (11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.). For brunch, Mexican specialties are standouts, including breakfast burritos or huevos motulenos. The Aut Bar caters to the LGBT community and their friends, families and allies.
Beach Grill 24420 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores; 586-771-4455; beachgrillrestaurantandresort.com: "Deck space" doesn't begin to cover it. The Beach Grill has 5,000 square feet of it, with 32 tables and a full tiki bar, along with an indoor dance floor and a spectacular view indoors or out. Enjoy burgers and pizza on the patio or filet mignon inside, or take in an all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch overlooking the water. It's not Cancun, but the breeze and the sunlight will do you good just the same.
Beirut Palace 105 S. Main St. Royal Oak; 248-399-4600; beirutpalace.com: Falafel-heads come year-round for Beirut Palace's fresh raw juices, fresh bread, and daily vegetarian soups and specials, but the palace packs them in during the warm months with their commodious outdoor seating area for 80, where you can have your gherkins and gawking together.
Bert's Marketplace 2727 Russell St., Detroit; 313-567-2030: On summer Saturdays, Eastern Market seems to be bursting at every seam. Stalls and sheds overflow with colorful produce as merchants set up shop along Russell Street. But Bert's is different. Not only do you have a great place to sit, do some Eastern Market people-watching and enjoy some serious barbecue, you get a front seat to some of the most unusual karaoke performances ever!
The Plymouth Rock 1020 W. Ann Arbor Rd., Plymouth; 734-459-4190: With 20-odd tables on a covered patio and a casual atmosphere, The Plymouth Rock is a good place to catch up with friends or watch the game. They serve Mexican food, ribs and deli-style sandwiches, and usually have an attractive special or two as well. And the entertainment goes most of the week, offering such entertainment as open-mic nights, karaoke-and-trivia nights, live DJs and cover bands. The people are friendly and the food is good, and the patio is a plus on warm nights — which we should be getting any time now.
Café Zola 112 W. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-769-2020; cafezola.com: A coffeehouse in the European tradition: a place for gathering, eating and enjoying coffee, espresso, hand-selected teas, and sweet and savory crêpes made fresh, one at a time, and served hot and delicious. In true European style, there is outdoor seating on the sidewalk.
Como's 22812 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-5005: Whether it's pizza, pasta, or anything that can conceivably be breaded and deep-fried, this fixture on the corner of Nine Mile and Woodward has been serving it up since 1961. Rain or shine, Como's sheltered outdoor dining area offers a place for al fresco eating and open-air boozing.
Compari's on the Park 350 S. Main St., Plymouth; 734-416-0100; comparisdining.com: Outdoor dining here tends toward the teeming on a good summer night. Several tables take over a generous portion of the downtown sidewalk during lunch or dinner, shaded beneath white umbrellas. Spring and summer specials are in the works.
Copper Canyon Brewery 27522 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield; 248-223-1700: In addition to their indoor space, Copper Canyon Brewery has an outside area that seats about 20, and it's open till the wee hours if the weather's good. There are plenty of umbrellas, so you can sit in the shade while you have a beer — the seasonal ones are sometimes cheaper on the deck. Along with sunny skies, the deals can make your happy hour that much happier. And the food ain't too shabby either — steaks, ribs, pasta, fish, burgers, pizza, soups, salads and desserts all keep this microbrewery going.
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