Dine outside. Drink outside. Be outside.
Current’s eight favorite patios to spend a sunny afternoon
The summer itch is starting. That undeniable feeling where work seems like solitary confinement, and about midday, when the streets are gold with sun and happy chatter floods the air, excuses for leaving start creeping around your mind. Simple solution: when your work day is done, don’t waste time inside — play outside, work out outside, and, above all, eat, drink and be merry outside. These eight patios can help.
314 East Liberty St. 734.662.1111
While the idea of vegan cake may seem less appealing to some, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it at Seva. The restaurant’s Chocolate Raspberry Mousse dessert doesn’t use real butter, but with other fresh and flavorful ingredients, it isn’t needed. Pair it with a healthy concoctions such as ‘Kermits Lagoon’ from the juice bar while seated on the gorgeous, patio deck complete with colorful umbrellas and matching flower arrangements for a healthy treat. This vegetarian eatery also boasts a comprehensive list of entrees that will be palatable to even the most stubborn carnivore— the Portabello burger, for instance, is hearty, juicy and surprisingly filling, and the popular yam fries are crispy with just the right amount of sweetness.
401 East Liberty St.
Tio’s Mexican Cafe has a little bit of everything, just ask Foodie Adam Richman. He attempted the Mt. Nacheesmo food challenge when his show “Man Vs. Food” filmed in town last year. Whether you’re consuming five pounds worth of food for the challenge or sipping on one of their perfect margaritas, enjoy the day on the shaded, street-level patio area — perfect for a chill afternoon of people-watching or post-shopping munchies.
Tio’s menu is known for buzz-worthy nachos, a spanish cheese plate and a hearty world-famous burrito, as well as home-made sangria. And, if you’re down for a little experimenting, they offer more than 100 different
salsas and sauces.
311 South Main St.
The Jolly Pumpkin knows beer. Dozens of varieties are brewed regularly with a selection that changes with the season. And what better way to enjoy the light, hoppy taste of spring and summer than being seated amidst the bustling activity on Main Street in front of the restaurant. Or, if you’re in the mood for some privacy, enjoy a more secluded view from the rooftop patio. Can’t decide on just one beer? The knowledgeable staff can assist with sampler flights with up to five brews. And don’t forget to save room for some delicious food; the stylish eatery serves up creative dishes such as truffle fries, red chile tofu and south pacific pizza.
422 Detroit St.
Don’t mind the occasional long lines. Zingerman’s is definitely worth the wait. The deli serves up a huge assortment of sandwiches in generous-sized portions, ranging from Reubens, BLT’s and a wealth of vegetarian-friendly options. And the best way to savor one is on the sun-soaked patio, lounging at a comfortable, colorful picnic table.
Zingerman’s crafts each mouthwatering creation using only the freshest, high-quality meats and breads, which is why Oprah named ‘Lisa C.’s Boisterous Brisket’ one of her favorite sandwiches. In addition to the main fare, the deli sells a wide range of specialty foods with samples offered from the top-notch staff.
812 Monroe St.
This enchanting bar is closed during the colder months of the year but is extremely popular when its doors open in the spring. Customers can lounge in the courtyard, sipping drinks in mason jars and enjoying scenic views complimented by a large fountain. The spacious patio has sizeable picnic tables that are ideal for large groups. However, it’s often packed on nice days, so arrive early if you want a seat. Though many come for the drinks (especially the Sangria), Dominick’s offers classic Italian-style food, ranging from pastas to pizzas.
300 South Ashley St.
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Whether it’s three o’clock in the morning or in the afternoon, hungry customers can expect classic diner food like the ‘Hippie Hash’ and ‘Fleetwood Club’ at affordable prices (many entrees are around $10). The Fleetwood’s interior can get a bit cramped, especially during peak hours, which is why opting to sit outside isn’t such a bad idea, especially considering the establishment’s historic roots and old-school, pleasantly gritty feel. When the eatery opened in 1949, original owner Donald Reid positioned a few tables and chairs outside the building, making it Ann Arbor’s first sidewalk cafe.
328 South Main St.
Upon entering, it feels like you’ve been transported out of Ann Arbor thanks to the desert-themed décor; most notably the beautiful, hand-painted ceiling. During the summer months, restaurant seating doubles when the additional outdoor area opens. Nestled behind the building and accessible only through the kitchen, this aesthetically pleasing garden makes for a prime spot to enjoy a meal. The ‘Pear’ cooks up some tasty southwest fare, including heaping portions of shrimp and scallop quesadilla as well as butternut squash soup.
347 South Main St.
Depending on the season, this Italian-themed eatery can offer two unique dining experiences. The street level interior provides a decorative wine station in the middle of the dining area as guests feast on decadent specialties like Linguine Pescatore and Pollo Parmigiana. In the summertime, patrons can opt to eat on the largest rooftop patio in Ann Arbor - ‘Patio Del Sole’ features a separate menu from the lower level restaurant. After sundown, experience breathtaking views of downtown Ann Arbor complete with an array of colorful lights.