Must-visit restaurant patios and their must-try dishes

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Must-visit restaurant patios and their must-try dishes

DAYTON EATS

Turn to us every Sunday in Life & Arts for the latest menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes, and culinary adventures brought to you by contributing writer Alexis Larsen. Bon appetite!

With warm weather finally here, comfortable patios are a critical piece of the dining puzzle.

And with summer vacations coming up, finding delicious, affordable options to enjoy is the name of the game.

Here are six restaurants that offer awesome patios and great summer dishes that are priced right.

BAR LOUIE

The Greene, 4492 Glengarry Drive, Beavercreek

(937) 427-3900

Why it rates? A nice large patio, garage doors that open to the whole restaurant when the weather is nice and great happy hour specials on food, draft beer, wine and martinis from 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday make Bar Louie a worthy destination.

Order: A burger. Options like the Chicago Stockyard burger topped with parmesan-blue cheese, mushrooms, romaine, onion, tomato, worcestershire sauce and peppercorns and the Backyard BBQ burger made with cheddar, barbecue sauce, bacon and fried onion straws are OK, but they are great when you can purchase them during Bar Louie’s Tuesday one dollar burger night promotion that runs Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to close with the purchase of a beverage.

COCO’S BISTRO

250 Warren St., Dayton

(937) 228-2626

Why it rates? Coco’s has two great outdoor dining spaces and a friendly staff that always seems ready to help steer you toward just the thing you’re looking for on a relatively new menu with some wonderful seasonal options.

Order: One of the pizzas. They are priced right, go great with almost any cocktail on the menu and can be shared if you are looking to have a food adventure with friends. The Margherita ($12 - garlic basil olive oil, fresh mozzarella, sea salt roma tomatoes, cracked black pepper and basil), Moroccan ($14 - roasted broccoli, sweet corn, red bell pepper, toasted curry oil, manchego, spicy crème fraiche and scallions) or the Gem City Classic ($15 - pepperoni, fennel sausage, caramelized onions, house marinated black olives, roasted garlic, pizza sauce, melted mozzarella and provolone, garlic oil and fresh sage) all hit the spot.

EL MESON

903 E Dixie Drive, West Carrollton

(937) 859-8229

Why it rates? An indoor patio when weather isn’t cooperating and an awesome new outdoor expanded patio make this West Carrollton classic a summer must.

Order: Tapas! For $14, sample classics from Spain featuring assorted Spanish Chorizo (Pamplona, Cantimpalo, Soria and Cantimpalitos), Jamon Serrano, Manchego sheep cheese, olives and caperberries. We also love the empanadilla platter with the salmon — a beef option is also available. Served with wonderful dipping sauce, it will fill you up without breaking the bank ($12 or $7 for a half order). And there’s plenty more options where that came from. This is a great spot to head to with friends and order a bunch of small plates to share.

LILY’S BISTRO

329 E. 5th St., Dayton

(937) 723-7637

Why it rates? There are plenty of great patios in the Oregon District, but one of the most gorgeous is hidden in the back of Lily’s Bistro. They also have another patio in front that offers great views of Fifth Street under the cover of shade.

Order: Lily’s has several dishes made for summer. Grilled peaches with goat cheese-almond stuffing and balsamic reduction ($6), specialty devilded eggs ($8) and watermelon and cucumber salad with vietnamese vinaigrette, feta cheese, jalapeño and basil ($9, can be prepared vegetarian or vegan) are all examples of dishes that lend themselves perfectly to summer.

TJ CHUMPS

12 E, Linden Ave., Miamisburg

(937) 859-4000

Why it rates? All of the TJ Chumps locations have patios, but we give our vote for best Chumps patio to Miamisburg. It’s open, but covered with an outdoor bar. Bonus for bikers — it’s right off the trail and a great spot to grab grub on your way to your next stop.

Order: Smoked salmon bruschetta ($6.99) featuring smoked salmon dip on a baked flatbread, flash fried and drizzled with balsamic vinegar topped with diced tomato, red onion, green onion, and shredded parmesan is decadent and delicious. The chicken salad plate ($7.99) paired with a good draft beer is a nice option when it’s hot out.

THE WINDS

215 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs

(937) 767-1144

Why it rates? One of the best restaurants around consistently offers the atmosphere, menu and service to back it up. The menus for brunch, lunch, dinner and “Saturdays at the bar” all vary and offer diners an adventure. The patio, which has seen significant updates relatively recently, will transport you to another place.

Order: We love the menu for “Saturday at the bar” that is served up from 2-5 p.m. Saturdays. The duck sausage corn dog ($10) served with a carrot salad is a delicious twist on an old favorite. Lima beans and mussels ($10) tossed with wood-smoked Spanish pimento, fresh mint and scallions is another wonderful creation made with familiar ingredients.

If it’s up your alley, be sure to mark your calendar for the Think Pink Rosé Tasting and Dinner on July 17 from 7-11:30 p.m. at The Winds. It will sell out quickly, so get your reservation in now.

Obviously there’s a lot more out there than this initial list. Stay tuned for more outdoor dining picks throughout the summer and feel free to send your suggestions for spots you think are worthy of reviewing to alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com.

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information, and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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