Datebook Diner's Patio Picks
By Datebook Diner W.E. Moranville
Special to Metromix
It’s almost here — Iowa’s brief and fleeting patio season, that sweet spot in our climate after the parkas have been put away but before we get chewed up by mosquitos and wilted to a pool of sweat by our famous humidity. To help you take advantage of this sublime sliver of time while you can, I offer my favorite patios from seasons past.
However, let me begin with a plea to all restaurateurs: Please, keep your patios in seize-the-day shape. I can’t count the times that, at a patio-perfect moment, I’ve ventured to an outdoor dining spot where umbrellas are stacked unopened in a corner, tables sit weather-spattered and dusty, chairs are filthy and servers say things, like “Oh, well, you can sit out there if you want to, but we don’t have anyone assigned to that section.” I’ve heard more than a couple restaurateurs say, “We have a nice patio, but no one uses it.” Merely having a pleasant patio isn’t the same as having pleasant patio dining.
And another thing: Why does the shift outside, in many cases, mean drinks suddenly come in plastic and paper cups? Doesn’t glass break just as easily indoors? Can’t our patio dining be more like the Champs Elysées and less like the State Fair Midway — at least once in a while?
OK. Rant over. On to my picks. Judging by seasons past, these patios especially stand out.