Patios With Personality

These 18 spots are worth trying

Bellefonte Café,
Bellefonte
Walk through a shed to the right of the entrance of this funky Bellefonte landmark and you enter the backyard patio. With eight tables, a chimenea and a garden of herbs and vegetables, it’s intimate and homey. On chilly nights, fleece blankets are available to keep you warm. The diverse menu features homemade ingredients and beaucoup choices of sandwiches, paninis, soups and salads. Try the Grilled Cheese of the Week, and, if you wish, an adult beverage. Live music every night.

— Bob Yearick, Contributing Editor

Kelly’s Logan House,
Trolley Square
The patio at Kelly’s Logan House is one of the most enjoyable in Trolley Square—perhaps in all of Wilmington. Located at the corner of Delaware Avenue and North DuPont Street, it offers plenty of outdoor seating and large umbrellas, which provide ample cover from the midsummer sun. The patio also doubles as a great people-watching location and gives off an “in the middle of it all” feel because of its position in the Square. More information on Kelly’s Logan House can be found at loganhouse.com.

— David Ferguson, Intern

The Gables at Chadds Ford,
Chadds Ford, Pa.
There are few al fresco settings better than the patio at The Gables at Chadds Ford. Though the restaurant is located on busy Route 1, the patio is at the rear of the restaurant and is enclosed with a spectacular stone wall. An abundance of plantings and cascading water enhance the setting and create a stimulating yet relaxing setting. You forget all about Route 1—nor do you hear it. The restaurant is situated on land originally owned by William Penn, and the home that now operates as The Gables was one of the first built in the area, around 1745. Ambience abounds inside and out at this destination restaurant, but when the weather turns friendly most patrons opt for the spectacular patio.

— Jerry duPhily, Publisher

The Secret Garden at Penn’s Place,
New Castle
Tucked behind Penn’s Place—the 17th century building where William Penn allegedly spent his first night when he landed in New Castle —this small patio half hidden by delightfully dominant shrubs is a cozy place for a glass of wine, beer or sandwiches and desserts from adjacent Traders Cove Coffee Shop. The space is appropriately titled The Secret Garden, and on summer Saturdays from 6-8 p.m., it’s home to live entertainment such as jazz, comedy nights, acoustic performances and more.

— Krista Connor, Associate Editor

Chesapeake Inn,
Chesapeake City, Md.
During boating season, there is nowhere in the area quite like the Chesapeake Inn in terms of sights, sounds and tastes. Located on the south side of the canal in Chesapeake City, the Inn’s back patio overlooks its sizeable marina and features vast seating space, plus a band stage and multiple bars (including a tiki bar). The kitchen satisfies a variety of tastes with offerings such as crab cake sandwiches, brick-oven pizza, rockfish burritos and sushi—which is good since it’s not uncommon to see yacht owners, tourists, band groupies and recent college graduates all getting down on the dance floor on a summer night.

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

Cantwell’s Tavern,
Odessa
If you find yourself passing through Odessa with an appetite on a beautiful day, Cantwell’s should be part of your itinerary. This historic tavern takes you back in time and the surrounding tree-lined streets offer a peaceful feeling. With a menu to please kids and adults alike, it’s a win-win. You may even catch some live music if you visit on a summer Saturday.

Matthew Loeb, Creative Director & Production Manager

Ubon Thai Cuisine,
Wilmington Riverfront

In Wilmington, I don’t think there’s a better spot to have a meal outside than on the Riverfront. Couple that with fantastic Thai food, and you have a knockout. Ubon’s patio space in front of the restaurant is great, not only because of the view overlooking the Christina River, but the wood tables and chairs, with comfy cushions, make the experience super enjoyable and relaxing.

Tyler Mitchell, Graphic Designer

Trolley Square Oyster House,
Trolley Square

The folks at the oyster house have managed to maximize this limited space for pleasurable activities. The patio bar offers a plentiful assortment of craft beer, creative cocktails, wine and, of course, oyster shooters. Guests can enjoy a match of giant Jenga while listening to live solo performers and musical duos Wednesday through Saturday nights.

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

Ernest & Scott Taproom,
Downtown Wilmington

Ernest & Scott’s patio offers a unique vantage point, whether you’re watching the cyclists speed by during the Wilmington Grand Prix or participating in the venue’s Cinco de Mayo street party. It’s also the setting for the successful Smokin’ Joe’s Cigars Under the Stars series and a convenient place to grab dinner before a show at the Playhouse or The Grand.

Jim Miller, Director of Publications

The Whip Tavern,
Coatesville, Pa.

If you’re up for a country joy ride, The Whip Tavern in Coatesville is a destination worth your time. It’s an English-style pub located kind of in the middle of nowhere that offers the classics you’d expect, like fish-n-chips, Welsh rarebit, and bangers and mash, as well as locally influenced specials. The back patio overlooks the woods and a creek, and it’s a pleasant spot to pick a beverage from an extensive beer and cider list and some mussels on a warm day. Before making the trip, check thewhiptavern.com.

— Marie Graham Poot, Director of Digital Media & Distribution

Columbus Inn,
Wilmington

For decades, the covered patio at Columbus Inn has been synonymous with high-profile power lunches and warm-weather happy hours, making its Pennsylvania Avenue location an after-work stop for Greenville and Centreville commuters. It recently has doubled down on the fun by adding a Saturday Happy Hour (5-7 p.m.) and a BBQ & Boil Crab Feast on the last Thursday of the month. Hot fun in the summertime, indeed!

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

Brew HaHa!,
Trolley Square
Great coffee and enjoyable times go hand-in-hand at Brew HaHa! in Trolley Square. The patio space offers the perfect setting to either catch up with friends or get a jump-start on the next week’s work. Thanks to the fantasy lights and decorative plants in the seating area, the space removes guests from the usual busy energy of Trolley. And thanks to outdoor Wi-Fi and tables big enough for five, it’s the perfect environment to focus on work dates with your colleagues or brunch with friends.

— Tess Beardell, Senior, Wilmington Friends School

Piccolina Toscana,
Trolley Square

Half covered, half-exposed, the patio at Toscana, 1412 N. Dupont St., offers a convenient place to have a business lunch on a sunny day and an inviting setting to eat with family and friends at the $20 Sunday brunch. The patio fountain and thriving plants nearby have a calming effect, if you’re into feng shui or if you’re simply looking for a place to enjoy some coffee and a quick bite at the neighboring To-Go section.

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

Grain on Main,
Newark
Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen has recently sprouted new locations (See pg. 49), but the flagship location at 270 E. Main, which has an amazing patio, will always be a favorite of mine. It’s covered year-round and enclosed during the winter, and heaters and a fire pit centerpiece keep guests warm on chilly nights. During the summer the center of the tables can be removed to reveal an ice chest, which keeps beverages cold while guests indulge in conversation and tasty items from the Grain menu. For more information, go to grainonmain.com.

— David Ferguson, Intern

Firestone Roasting House,
Wilmington Riverfront

We’ve had visitors from out of town tell us this patio’s views made them feel as though they were in a different part of the world. It’s true, the views of the Christina and the surrounding Riverfront attractions set the mood, while the cuisine consistently delivers smiles. Do yourself a favor…go during sunset.

— Matthew Loeb, Creative Director & Production Manager

The Four Dogs Tavern,
Marshallton, Pa.

This may be a half-hour drive for those in Hockessin or Wilmington, but The Four Dog Tavern’s large outdoor patio, overlooking rolling Brandywine Valley countryside, is well worth the effort. In fact, getting there can be part of the charm if you take the route that passes Longwood Gardens and Northbrook Canoes Co. and empties you into the historic village of Marshallton. As the name suggests, dogs are allowed on the patio and many patrons take the restaurant up on this offer. The food is locally sourced, the menu is American brasserie, and the atmosphere is enhanced with live acoustic music on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Food for thought: Make The Four Dogs the ending destination for a bike ride – just arrange for someone to meet you there with a car so you can enjoy the ambience with a beer and not have to ride home.

— Jerry duPhily, Publisher

Harry’s Seafood,
Wilmington Riverfront
The patio at Harry’s is one of my favorite places to dine on a beautiful day. The large outdoor area has both covered and uncovered options, and all seats offer a view of the Christina River and the Riverwalk. Add a glass of champagne and some oysters and you’re in for a lovely experience.

— Marie Graham Poot, Director of Digital Media & Distribution

Gallucio’s Italian Restaurant,
Trolley Square

This spring, changing tides brought significant changes to Gallucio’s secluded back patio, now dubbed the Backyard Surf Bar. To re-imagine the space on Lovering Avenue, the restaurant turned to Shannon Stevens, a partner and creative director for both Shiny Advertising and El Diablo Burritos. He brought both bright beach colors and a comfortable, well-worn look to the patio. Look for a totally separate menu from Gallucio’s with offerings like conch fritters and jerk chicken. It’s a taste of the islands in Trolley Square.

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

 

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