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Posted on Thu, Sep 24, 2009 : 7:44 p.m.

Dining out alfresco

By Teresa Shaw

Whether it's your own patio, a restaurant deck or a shady spot in a local park, dining in the great outdoors is one of life's simplest pleasures. Not only do you get to enjoy the wonderfully cool weather we've been having, but the sounds of nature around you as well. Food just seems to taste better when it's eaten outside in a casual environment.

In addition, eating outdoors with kids is special - not only for them, but for you. They get to enjoy eating someplace other than the kitchen or dining room table, and you don't have to worry quite as much about their food making it to the floor and staining the rug (you should still clean it up, though).

There are many local parks to choose from, scattered in and around town. Pack a picnic lunch with items like homemade applesauce, grilled sandwiches or a bean salad, and enjoy a casual meal.

There are several great spots in town where you can enjoy a kid-friendly meal outdoors that someone else cooks:

  • Palio's rooftop patio offers an elevated view of downtown. Seating is more ample than other places, but still sometimes difficult to come by.
  • Cafe Felix has evolved from a coffee house to a French cafe-style restaurant perfect for people watching.
  • Panera Bread offers soups, sandwiches, coffee and free wi-fi. Outdoor seating is usually plentiful.
  • Creekside Grill & Bar (Scio Township) is a casual American restaurant with a large deck.

    What's your favorite venue for an outdoor meal?


Jennifer Shikes Haines

Mon, Sep 28, 2009 : 7:13 a.m.

My son and husband love the tables near the Argo Dam. I love Independence Lake or our balcony. I love eating al fresco!

Mona Shand

Fri, Sep 25, 2009 : 1:05 p.m.

Here in Brighton we love eating outside at Stillwater Grill, where the patio faces the Mill Pond with its friendly duck inhabitants. Or sometimes we'll just grab sandwiches from Great Harvest and sit on the benches by the pond. Of course, the backyard is a favorite spot and in the winter I like to grab a blanket and have a "picnic" in the living room (though my toddler's current love of "Food As Projectile" may put a damper on this practice).


Fri, Sep 25, 2009 : 8:34 a.m.

I love the back patio at Prickly Pear, but nothing beats our own backyard.