Local dining with a side of outside
The coming of spring (and the relaxation of social distancing protocols) signals the time to start thinking about outdoor dining – always a joyous occasion – and which patios are your favorites.
We’re starting with Pizzeria Gusto at 2415 N Walker. Remarkable as it may seem to regulars, we still hear people say some variation of “I didn’t know Gusto had a patio!” It does. It’s in the back, surrounded by a privacy fence, dotted with trees, built on beautiful flagstones and lit with string lights. It’s an amazing combination of secret garden, fairyland and Italian country bistro.
Limiting the view with a privacy fence was a brilliant choice. Surrounded as it is by a shopping center, parking lot and the back of another business, Gusto had to opt for an uninteresting view or the creation of a comfortable vibe and aesthetic. They chose the latter, and that makes the Neapolitan-style pizzas and solid wine list that much easier to enjoy.
McClintock Saloon and Chop House (2227 Exchange in Stockyards City) chose a similar route with its “backyard” patio. It’s off an alley, but the gate, flower boxes and abundant greenery, as well as a smart paint job, make for a lovely distraction from what could be a too-pedestrian view. The brunch is underrated delicious with some of the best fried chicken in the metro, and the whiskey selection makes al fresco sipping a smart choice.
Flint, inside the Colcord Hotel at 15 N Robinson, also boasts one of the largest and best patios in the city, with a view that’s hard to beat. Situated at the base of the Devon Tower, the view upward is stunning and inspiring, and just across the street are the Myriad Gardens, if you’re more the nature type. Bar service for all meals is made easier with an outdoor bar, and the lounge furniture just invites day drinking and conversation.
Edmond’s new Railyard at 23 W 1st is likely to be a hotspot this summer. Adjacent to several popular restaurant concepts including El Camino tacos and Gogi Go, as well as the new 1884 bar and cigar lounge, the large, outdoor space has games, a bar and a ton of seating. Grab something from one of the food hall concepts and head outside. Located just off Broadway in downtown Edmond, it’s peaceful, and the neighborhood view is somewhere between lovely and quaint.
You will find The Hutch’s patio down a short, winding path on the east side of the restaurant at 6437 Avondale. Umbrellas provide shelter, and Chef David Henry delivers consistently outstanding food. Operating partner Kyle Fleischfresser was a fantastic bartender before his proprietor days, so the quality of the cocktails (including the whiskey selection) matches the food quality. On Wednesday evenings, the restaurant features an entrée and wine special, and the patio is the perfect place for barbecue and a bottle of red wine.
The Library at 607 W Boyd in Norman is well known among residents and University of Oklahoma students past and present. It’s a popular bar, with a menu that makes great sense for what and where it is: pizza, burgers, tacos, nachos, salads and sandwiches. The patio is surrounded by a ton of greenery, and it’s tucked in away from passing traffic, so the effect is a “lively pub in a small town” vibe, and it’s very much a cool oasis in the hot summer hours.