Feeling al fresco
Notable spots where you can dine outdoors
Published: May 23, 2012
Dominick's 812 Monroe St., Ann Arbor; 734-662-5414: Located south of U-M's Ann Arbor campus is a restaurant decked out with a sprawling patio and lots of sangria. Dominick's serves up pizza, pasta, apps and sammiches. A favorite is the chicken quesadilla (which you can never go wrong with) and tomato bruschetta on a toasted baguette. Michigan microbrews are also on tap. Outdoor seating available in three spots: the balcony, the front or the back yard — your choice!
Great Baraboo Brewing Co. 35905 Utica Rd., Clinton Twp.; 586-792-7397; greatbaraboo.com: One of Macomb County's best-established brewpubs, they serve a stick-to-your-ribs menu of ribs, steaks, fajitas, seafood, pastas and more. Wash it down with handcrafted brews and watch the game on one of their many screens. Or retire to the patio and sit at one of 17 tables. The patio is covered, so you can stay dry until it starts raining sideways. So enjoy the breeze while you bask in the glow of happy hour, every day from 3 to 6 p.m. with appetizer deals and drink specials.
Guy Hollerin's Sports Bar 3600 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor; 734-769-4323: The words "Sports Bar" and "with patio in view of sand volleyball court" go together like ... well, sports bars and volleyball. On top of the volleyball and patio and overall chill atmosphere, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with a brunch on Sundays. Sandwiches are in the $8-$11 range, with entrées $11 and up, and it's no-frills, just good food. So take a load off, play some trivia and just hang out and enjoy the summertime.
Honest John's Bar and No Grill 488 Selden St., Detroit; 313-832-5646; honestjohnsdetroit.com: Serving up breakfast till noon on weekdays and till 3 on weekends, Honest John's is sure to keep you going, with Bloody Marys and Ghetto Blaster Ale and a full bar at any time of day. As many as 30 to 40 people can sit outside.
La Dolce Vita 17546 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-865-0331; ldvrestaurant.net: It's not the grandest outdoor dining area in metro Detroit, but perhaps it's the contrast between the walled-in, vine-covered oasis and the gritty urban streetwall it hides behind. Either way, it's like a bit of Tuscany just off McNichols. Plus, La Dolce Vita's classic Italian cuisine is already terrific, only enhanced by the open air. Call ahead to find out about their live DJ parties or inventive brunches.
P.J.'s Lager House 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668; pjslagerhouse.com: From the outside it looks like a hundred other neighborhood bars in the city — except the musical programming is awesome, the beers on tap are quality, service comes with a smile, and the kitchen turns out excellent quality food. Weekend brunches are a high point, and there's also an excellent patio out back where you can enjoy a weekend morning meal walled off in your own little sanctuary.
Le Petit Zinc Crêperie & Café 1055 Trumbull St., Corktown; 313-963-2805; lepetitzincdetroit.com: An oasis of calm just a block from the main P.O., Le Petit Zinc is already serving outside, among raised beds of herbs, hanging plants, and a few fanciful items that include a tin rooster and a child-sized picnic table. You can almost imagine the sun is Mediterranean as you slurp latte from a great big bowl and eat salade Nicoise or ratatouille. All that's lacking now is the beer and wine license owner Charles Sorel is seeking.
Mercury Burger Bar 2163 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-964-5000: The long-awaited rebirth of the Mercury Bar in Corktown has arrived, as the Mercury Burger Bar, across the street from Slows Bar-BQ, featuring freshly ground burgers made with all-natural beef, 16 beers on draft and a full breakfast menu. Inside, a Jerome Ferretti mural adorning the wall adds a splash of color to the polished black-and-white interior. Best of all, an open-air patio paved with reclaimed bricks sits beside the restaurant, providing the neighborhood with another great spot to enjoy a drink in warmer weather.
Mitchell's Fish Market 370 N. Adams Rd., Rochester Hills; 248-340-5900; mitchellsfishmarket.com: Mitchell's large outdoor dining area complements a large selection of fish (12 varieties at any given time), with menus reprinted over the course of the day to reflect changes in availability and with seafood items detailed as to origin. Summer is the season for soft-shell crab as well as an Alaskan halibut, though there's a short window in early summer when high-quality Copper River salmon from British Columbia will be on offer.
Moose Preserve 43034 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills; 248-858-7688; moosepreserve.com: Northern exposure aura with outdoorsy grub to match. Spicy venison, buffalo meatloaf and whitefish cooked on a cedar plank (without the bugs or tent or drive to some remote area without cell phone reception). They have a half-covered patio in back with plenty of tables for those nice days, when you want to actually soak up some nature.
Motor City Brewing Works 470 W. Canfield St., Detroit; 313-832-2700; motorcitybeer.com: Right across the street from Traffic Jam, this brewpub has a quirky tiled interior, with its concrete bar molded in PVC, its Wednesday-night art shows, and its sturdy menu of pizzas and small plates. For less than $10, you can get a pizza made with ingredients from as local as possible, or a cheese, baguette and salametti plate with your choice of mustard. The beers are excellent. And those Wednesday night art shows are a tightwad's dream. Better still, head up to their rooftop patio for a bit of sun with your suds.
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