The scene: Celebrating its first patio season, Gusto Pizza Co. did things proper: no cheap-ass plastic benches and gaudy Mike's Hard Lemonade umbrellas. This patio is clean (OK, a decent amount of ants scurrying around searching for crumbs, but you are outside), features sleek black iron tables and matching chairs, and is spacious, with 13 tables of four seats.
What we ordered: Ten inches of pizza and 32 ounces of beer! Though this isn't a culinary feature, official assignment instructions from Juice headquarters insisted we order pizza. Disgusted at the thought, we nonetheless devoured a Spartacus pizza and an order of breadsticks. Gusto's pies have been celebrated numerous times in this magazine, so let's not beat a dead horse. Let's just say that dead horse is delicious. Back to humongous bottles of beer, though. Gusto serves the usual suspects (Bud Light, Schlitz, Guinness) but also offers a nice selection of Iowa brews, including Madhouse from Newton and delicious Peace Tree from Knoxville. But what's sure to catch your eye is the Tecate 32-ouncer towering above everything else on the shelf. Wine and craft sodas are also available.
Who we met: Perhaps it was the slightly overcast sky, or maybe folks were simply exhausted from an entire holiday weekend of eating, drinking and being merry, but Gusto's patio was surprisingly deserted at 6 p.m. the evening after Independence Day. Only two other people were wily enough to venture onto the patio during our 90-minute visit.
The view: Gusto's location in the Ingersoll Square building puts patio loungers smack-dab in the middle of the action. Motorcyclists cruise by, gunning their engines. Bicyclists trek up Ingersoll's bike lane, sneaking glances at patrons' food. And a steady stream of cars buzzes every which direction at the corner of MLK and Ingersoll.
Why you should go: There's just something magical about palming an enormous bottle of Mexican beer in a public setting.
Gusto Pizza Co.
Info: 1905 Ingersoll Ave., Suite 106
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4-9 p.m. Sunday
Patio highlights: Mondays are Patio Party Night from 5 p.m.-close. Eat half-priced pizza and drink $10 buckets of domestic or $12 buckets of imported beer.
Best for: When a meager slice and beer won't do.