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Food & Drink » Summer Guide

A dozen new Chicago restaurants for outdoor dining

Sate yourself alfresco at these patios and rooftops.



Americano 2211 | Wicker Park
Those familiar with Birchwood Kitchen, which closed its doors last fall, will also remember its picturesque ivy-covered back patio. Americano 2211, which opened in April in the same space, retains much of the relaxed, European feel of the former occupant, with a brief menu comprising breakfast dishes, pastries, sandwiches, and salads. There are plans to add an herb garden to the 30-seat patio and to stay open for dinner, allowing for an evening glass of wine out back (a liquor license is in the works). Breakfast, lunch: daily. 2211 W. North, 773-360-8757, americano2211.com.

Bernie's Lunch & Supper | River North
There wasn't much time last year to enjoy the 88-seat rooftop at Bernie's after it opened in mid-September. This summer, though, it's likely to see plenty of patrons eager to relax in the 1,500-square-foot space with hanging lanterns, strings of lights, and a full bar. The entire menu of Mediterranean-influenced comfort food is also available up on the roof. Lunch: Mon-Fri; dinner: daily. Sat & Sun brunch. Open late: Thu-Sat till 11 PM. 660 N. Orleans, 312-624-9892, bernieslunchandsupper.com.

Boeufhaus | Ukrainian Village
While Boeufhaus opened last year, its tiny 14-seat patio, with marble brasserie tables set off from the sidewalk by wine barrels, is brand-new. So is its happy hour, which runs from 3:30 to 5:30 PM on weekdays and features $1.50 oysters and rotating specials on beer, wine, and cocktails. Lunch: Tue-Sat; dinner: Sun, Tue-Sat. Open late: Fri & Sat till midnight. 1012 N. Western, 773-661-2116, boeufhaus.com.

  • Danielle A. Scruggs
  • Spoke & Bird

The Cotton Duck | Ukrainian Village
This BYOB restaurant and art gallery features an art-inspired menu that changes every three months with the art installations (the current iteration of both, titled "Forage," runs through July). A fenced-in front patio, strung with lights and decorated with potted plants, seats 35. Dinner: Sun, Tue-Sat. Sun brunch. 941 N. Damen, 773-661-6131, thecottonduck.com.

Dos Urban Cantina | Logan Square
Chef Brian Enyart's take on modern Mexican food has already made Dos Urban Cantina a destination, and the new 40-seat sidewalk patio with heat lamps and flower planters isn't going to hurt things. Large-format cocktails (think half-gallon pitchers of margaritas) and a menu of botanas, or small snacks, were just rolled out in time for the warmer weather; the patio will also have a wine cart with a half dozen rosés by the glass, plus buckets of Mexican beer. Dinner: daily. 2829 W. Armitage, 773-661-6452, dosurbancantina.com.

The Duck Inn | Bridgeport
The Duck Inn boasts not only a back deck that seats 18, but also a tree-shaded enclosed backyard with garden plots and tables that can seat up to 75 people. Chef Kevin Hickey's menu ranges from bar snacks to a four-course tasting menu, including both a hot dog and foie gras. Lunch: Sat; dinner: Tue-Sat. Sun brunch. Open late: bar every night till 2. 2701 S. Eleanor, 312-724-8811, theduckinnchicago.com.

Expat | West Loop
This 24-seat seasonal sidewalk cafe from Element Collective is open only when the weather is good—there's no indoor seating. Food focuses on cold dishes like salads, light sandwiches, and a raw bar; drinks include boozy snowcones and other selections designed for hot days. Lunch, dinner: daily, weather permitting (follow @expatongreen on Twitter for updates). 118 N. Green, expatongreen.com.

Kimski | Bridgeport
The triangular front patio at Kimski is enclosed on two sides and covered, though an enormous window on one wall gives the impression it's more airy than it really is; the restaurant opens onto the back patio via two retractable glass-paneled garage doors. An expansion of Maria's Bar & Packaged Goods next door, Kimski serves a mashup of Korean and Polish street food, like Polish sausages with kimchi and a cross between a pot sticker and a pierogi. Dinner: Tue-Sat. Open late: Tue-Sat till 11 PM. 960 W. 31st, 773-890-0588.

Saint Lou's Assembly | West Loop
The new cafeteria-style restaurant from chef Jared Wentworth includes a 100-seat patio with bleacher seating and a bocce ball court. The full meat-and-three (a meat course and three sides) menu is available, plus drinks from Moneygun, the bar next door, which features classic cocktails. Lunch, dinner: daily. 664 W. Lake, 312-600-0600, saintlouschicago.com.

  • Danielle A. Scruggs

Spoke & Bird | South Loop
By far the best reason to visit this South Loop cafe—which has an extensive menu of breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, and sides—is its sprawling 2,500-square-foot patio. Partially shaded by trees and equipped with enough seating for 100 people, it's a relaxing place for an early-evening beer (there are six on tap and a dozen-odd more by the bottle) before the place closes at 8 PM. Breakfast, lunch, dinner: daily. 205 E. 18th, 929-263-2473, spokeandbird.com.

To Hayati at Taxim | Wicker Park
When it opened above the well-respected Greek restaurant Taxim last summer, To Hayati—which means "the rooftop" in Greek—claimed the somewhat dubious distinction of being the first rooftop deck on Milwaukee between North and Division (never mind that Chop Shop's is just around the corner on North). Taller buildings on each side provide privacy, and a rooftop bar provides drinks; to eat there's a limited selection of grilled skewers and small plates. Dinner: daily. Open late: Fri & Sat till 11. 1558 N. Milwaukee, 773-252-1558, taximchicago.com.

Whisk | Ukrainian Village
Ron Swanson, the Parks and Recreation character with an unhealthy love of breakfast foods and red meat, is the inspiration behind this BYO burger and brunch spot. And it shows on the enclosed back patio: while the brick walls are covered in ivy, a wood fence is painted with a quote from the character that reads in part, "Give me all the bacon and eggs you have." Breakfast, brunch, dinner: daily. Open late: every night till 11. 2018 W. Chicago, 773-252-9060, whiskchicago.com.

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