By Audra Glidewell | Good Life Family Editor
As cooler weather finally begins to make its appearance, North Texans can look forward to outdoor dining at some of our favorite restaurants—some we haven’t been able to frequent in months. As always, umbrellas for shade and truly delectable cuisine are a must, but this year we’re also looking for patios that provide plenty of space between tables. The following dining destinations have the best patios, for al fresco dining and for social distancing—while still bringing the fun after months in quarantine.
Friendly owner Hugo Miranda ensures his passion for Mexican flavors is presented in a unique way on every plate. Everything’s fresh and made from scratch, with an emphasis on delicious, healthy ingredients such as kale, quinoa, Brussels sprouts, and roasted corn. Seafood Enchiladas are bursting with five types of seafood and contrast nicely with pickled cabbage and chile ancho salsa. Simple tacos are not so simple when served on house-made tortillas and stuffed with ingredients such as vegetarian impossible meat (try it!), watercress, and avocado-serrano sauce. Stop by for patio dining and daily Happy Hour specials. “Invitados” means guests, and you’ll be more than welcome here.
5240 N. O’Connor Blvd., Ste. 160 | Irving
Great chips, zippy salsa, friendly service, and the infamous Mambo Taxi (an intoxicating—literally—blend of Sauza Silver tequila, lime juice and house made sangria with Pinot Noir, brandy and fruit juices) have ensured that every single person in North Texas (or so we imagine) has been to Mi Cocina at least a dozen times. While the Brisket Tacos are legendary, and the Queso Blanco with Picadillo Beef is the bomb, for the fitness-minded, the house made soups and hearty salads are also excellent. We’ll also take anything they offer, as long as its smothered in Mi Cocina’s silky-smooth mole sauce. The patio at Watters Creek is perfect for enjoying the weather and getting out of the house!
815 Watters Creek Blvd. | Allen
GRRRowler’s Beer Garden and Tap Room
What could be better than great food, cold beer and furry friends? Well, we just can’t think of anything—unless, of course, you throw in a relaxing beer garden dedicated to craft beer, growler fills and yes, easy access to an awesome dog park. GRRRowler’s, located at the Shacks at Austin Ranch, has tapped into DFW’s latest craze of combining outdoor dining while hanging out with beloved pooches in a friendly, meet-your-neighbors kind of environment. No dog? No problem—it’s still the perfect place to gather over the summer and beyond. Right now, GRRRowler’s is open for outdoor dining only with tables socially distanced at 6 feet apart.
5800 Windhaven Pkwy. | The Colony
Enjoy the spacious patio on warm days—the perfect spot for a hearty salad and sandwich, tremezzini (pita bread stuffed with, for example, mozzarella and artichoke) or a slab of decadent pie or cake. We mentioned the desserts, right? Rightly described as a “Slice of Heaven,” pieces of pie are generous and worth a visit all by themselves. Choose from Banana Caramel Pecan, Key Lime, Double Chocolate Fudge and many others—all made from scratch. Come for live music every Friday and Saturday night throughout the fall.
17606 Preston Rd. | Dallas
Lava Cantina offers a unique dining/entertainment concept that father and son owners Steve and Ian Vaughn like to call, “Creole food with a Mexican twist.” The place is flooded with music memorabilia, making it the perfect backdrop to enjoy live outdoor bands, a rooftop patio, fantastic food, and plenty of adult beverages. This is where you want to people watch, with that just-right combination of Austin-esque outdoorsy-ness with a nod to bigger venues such as House of Blues. Grab a nosh or a meal: appetizer standouts include Crawfish, Alligator and Chorizo Dip served with tortilla chips, and Great Balls of Fire (basically, rice balls) made with boudin sausage. Check Lava Cantina’s Facebook page for live music and events throughout the fall with limited seating to ensure social distancing.
5805 Grandscape Blvd. | The Colony
Local, craft beers, Texas wines and spirits, live music and a large patio with picnic tables give The Rustic a taste of Austin, Dallas-style. Don’t miss the Cactus Fritters or Wild Boar Meatballs—perfect to share while you’re soaking in the social scene. Check their website for more info about the new Safe Sounds Music Series. Now you can enjoy a night of live music in a safe and socially distanced environment.
3656 Howell St. | Dallas 214.730.0596
The perfect blend of old and new, Chelsea Corner was built in 1926 but underwent renovations in 2016 to maintain its hip and fashionable appearance. Their dog-friendly patio, which is over 2,500 square feet, evokes a “backyard” vibe, while serving up a delectable brunch. Trees and wooden tables and chairs add to the patio’s casual, neighborhood atmosphere. Due to COVID, most tables on the rear patio are seated on a first-come, first-served basis, but some are open for reservations on the Open Table platform.
4830 McKinney Ave. | Dallas
Venture outside at this Austin-esque spot to enjoy live music Wednesday through Saturday nights. Menu items include Salads, Bites (think: Pimento Cheese Sliders) and house made Flat Breads such as the Chorizo Hero with local goat cheese, red onion, cilantro and roasted yellow peppers. This is the kind of place where you can kick back and enjoy the cool vibe while sipping on wines by the glass/bottle and local beers on tap. Right now, for guests seated outside during live music, the first drink ordered off the wine, beer, or cocktail menu will be $3.
7080 W. Main St. | Frisco
Chip’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers
Chip’s has served up delicious burgers in Dallas for over 30 years. At its newest location at the Boardwalk at Granite Park, you can enjoy your burger on their patio, which comes with all the benefits that the Boardwalk has to offer. With an open concept connecting the restaurants and the Boardwalk, there couldn’t be an easier transition between exploring the Boardwalk’s waterfront view and dining outside on Chip’s patio. Come for Happy Hour, weeknights 3-7 PM.
5872 Texas 121, Ste. 105 | Plano
HG Sply Co.
For both spirited and non-spirited drinks and delectable appetizers to nosh on, the rooftop patio at HG Sply Co. is the place to be. Whether you need a casual post-work drink and snack or a place to watch your favorite sporting event, HG Sply Co. offers an expansive patio with several TVs, large enough to provide social distancing. On a health kick? Enjoy one of their homemade juices while taking in Lower Greenville’s views.
2008 Greenville Ave. | Dallas