The 10 best new patios in Dallas to drink and dine outdoors
UPDATE: Since this story was published, Belly & Trumpet has closed.
Although the primary reason for going to a restaurant is eating food, it's not the only one. We also like to be waited upon, and we love a nice atmosphere. In Texas, that means a good patio. And why not: We have the space for it, and we definitely have the weather. While half of the country is still shivering, we have sweater weather and a bright, sunny sky.
But in good news for al fresco fans, a new round of outdoor spots has sprouted as we usher in patio season. This gives us the perfect excuse to revisit our 2013 list of best patios and come up with a roundup of the best new patios for outdoor drinking and dining.
Belly & Trumpet
Oak’s younger sibling, in an old house on McKinney Avenue, has a wraparound patio suited to its environs. But you won’t find Uptown drinkers packed in here on a Saturday night. Instead Belly & Trumpet is a nice spot for the grown-ups who dwell in the condos nearby to linger over a glass of wine and an assortment of small plates created by up-and-comer Brian Zenner. Even though it’s only a block from West Village, it feels like miles. And that’s a good thing.
Boxwood Tap + Grill
When Boxwood took over the old TABC space, that famous patio was part of the deal. It is still the jewel of the place, with a tree sprouting in the middle providing some shade for all those flirting singles packed into picnic tables. The taps are limited to 10, but the selection — Revolver, Peticolas, Boulevard — is good.
Cane Rosso White Rock
The second location in Jay Jerrier’s Neapolitan pizza empire boasts a sprawling, spacious patio — and it’s family-friendly to boot. The furniture is nicer than it has to be, a cool fire-and-water feature adds ambience and an arbor offers respite from the sun. This outpost serves cool wine-based cocktails and, in addition to the trademark pizzas, sandwiches like sausage and peppers on a seeded hoagie bun.
Dallas has little in the way of street life, save for a few neighborhoods. Knox-Henderson is one such spot, and this eatery captures some of that energy on its pretty see-and-be-seen patio. The menu reprises the roast chicken and other dishes from the original Le Bilboquet in New York, while French ownership gives it Parisian panache. Is this Travis Walk or is it Saint-Germain-des-Prés?
Proximity to White Rock Lake and Dallas Arboretum make this an ideal choice for outdoorsy types who desire a cold beverage after a twirl around either of those locales. The sandbox in the back is a kid magnet, so parents can imbibe while the little ones play nearby. Sharon Hage designed the menu, which means more inventive dishes, such as cashew-butter sandwich, plus trendy items like buffalo meatballs and kale salad.
It had a rocky start, but there is no denying the appeal of Mutts’ on-leash, dog-friendly, 200-seat patio and adjacent dog park (accessible for a fee). This is where Uptowners meet up with their neighbors for hot dogs and beer while their four-legged companions run amok. The patio has Wi-Fi and HD TVs too, and it’s open early on the weekends (8 am).
Nora Restaurant and Bar
This spinoff of Afghan Grill in North Dallas was an early settler on Greenville Avenue, helping usher in the street’s status as a foodie destination. Dishes such as braised pumpkin are acclaimed, and the cocktail menu got an assist from mixologist Jason Kosmas. As for the patio, the restaurant has two options: one right on the street and a new rooftop that makes a perfect perch to catch the passing action.
Our former drinking diarist Jonathan Rientra said it best: “When a band is playing outside, the patio’s grassy knoll, which wraps around the back, offers a flavor of Gexa Energy Pavilion without all the high schoolers running around hopped up on Schnapp’s.” With a prime location and a stage that opens up to the outside, this is not only a great patio, but also the best spot for live music in Uptown — naturally, because country star Pat Green is a co-founder.
Truck Yard made our list of best new bars for 2013, in large part because of the picnic tables and food trucks that beckon patrons to sit back, relax, and stay awhile and nosh. An address on the currently trendy Greenville Avenue doesn’t hurt. But it’s the casual, carefree vibe that puts it on Dallas patio dwellers’ regular rotation.
Savor was our pick for one of the best new restaurants of 2013, because its glass design is a show-stopper, making it an ideal spot to treat out-of-town guests. The patio just gets you closer to the action at Klyde Warren Park — and isn’t that where you want to be? Settle in for a glass of wine and some crab cakes, or indulge in an assortment of $3 desserts.