Thursday 15 April 2021
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Dining outside: Food and travel blogger Kit Graham’s favorite summer restaurants in Chicago

Parson’s photo by Clayton Hauck

We asked food and travel blogger Kit Graham for her top alfresco dining spots to experience this summer in Chicago

Parson’s Chicken & Fish
This Logan Square restaurant has a massive patio filled with picnic tables shaded by colorful red and white umbrellas. The top menu items are negroni slushies and fried chicken. You can also try your hand at ping pong. This patio is the type of place where you can easily spend an entire afternoon. 2952 W. Armitage.

Gibsons Italia
The newest addition to the Gibsons’ Restaurant Group is a three-level restaurant beside the Chicago River where they serve up prime steaks and house-made pasta. The rooftop’s retractable glass ceiling means that the panoramic views can be enjoyed regardless of the unpredictable Chicago weather. A pair of fireplaces keep the space warm during colder months. 233 N. Canal.

The Dawson
A high fence around the outdoor patio at The Dawson makes the space feel more like a garden and less like it is next to a busy intersection. The patio is big and bright, and at night it is lit up with twinkle lights. On chillier nights, you can stay warm by the big fireplace. They serve dinner every night and brunch on weekends. Dine on menu items like wood-fired branzino and locally sourced pork chop. 730 W. Grand.

Piccolo Sogno has arguably the most romantic garden patio in Chicago — perfect for date night.

Small Cheval
Tucked away from street, but still off the main stretch of Wells Street in Old Town, you will find a 100-seat patio dedicated to beer, burgers and boozy milkshakes. The burger is one of the best in town, and the wait is much shorter than the wait at their famous sister restaurant, Au Cheval, in the West Loop. 1732 N. Milwaukee.

Piccolo Sogno
Arguably the most romantic patio in Chicago, this Italian restaurant has a garden space perfect for date night. The cuisine focuses on Tuscan cuisine with seasonal twists. The large menu has a mix of pastas, pizzas and classic Italian meat dishes. 464 N. Halsted.

Green Street Smoked Meats
One of the city’s best spots for barbecue, Green Street Smoked Meats has rows of communal seating lighted with lots of tiny lights in a small passageway in the West Loop. Meats are available by the half pound and draft beers by the pitcher, making this is ideal place to go with a group. 112 N. Green.

Park & Field has 6,000 square feet of outdoor space filled with bonfire pits, bocce ball courts and cornhole games with lots of seating.

This Ravenswood neighborhood restaurant serves up home-style classic American eats with a Cajun influence. Their back patio has lots of room, and hanging plants add color to the space. Fireside has a neighborhood feel, and they have a great 2-5 p.m. happy hour on weekdays where you can get house wine for just $3. Heads up — it’s also on the list of Chicago’s best haunted restaurants. 5739 N. Ravenswood.

Park & Field
This Logan Square vintage sports club and eatery has 6,000 square feet of outdoor space filled with bonfire pits, bocce ball courts and cornhole games with lots of seating. If you are a local, you might want to sign up for their bocce or cornhole leagues. On weekends, they serve a bottomless boozy brunch. 3509 W. Fullerton.

This rooftop space just off the Mag Mile atop the Park Hyatt is one of the most elegant rooftop eateries in Chicago. Nomi has some of the best sushi in Chicago, plus a separate menu of non-sushi offerings. And the brunch has been named one of the best rooftop brunches in the city. 800 N. Michigan. 312-239-4030.

Kit Graham is the author of, a food and travel blog where she shares original recipes and travel adventures.