Six great new restaurant patios to check out this summer
Photo by Rob Turner
Oak Park's Triangle District has another cool summer hangout in the form of brand-new biergarten Oakhaus.
A hot summer night. A cool Delta breeze. Flowing conversation and wine (or beer). From a tropical oasis in midtown to a pastoral terrace in Sloughhouse, these six new restaurant patios have it all.
Burgers & Brew
If you think “Ring of Fire” is just a song by Johnny Cash, then you haven’t yet been to the new Burgers & Brew in West Sacramento’s hopping Broderick neighborhood. Located in a historic Art Deco firehouse at the foot of the I Street Bridge (just a short walk from Golden 1 Center across the river), the latest outpost in this local chain boasts a patio wall rimmed by the thinnest line of flickering orange flame. More a dancing linear candle than a roaring inferno, it’s a clever visual treat that will make your eyes light up but won’t overheat you—leave that to the six-alarm boilermaker you just ordered to go with one of the best BLTs in town. And if you're there on a Friday or Saturday night, you can sidle upstairs after dinner to Station 1, which also has a gracious and spacious—if noncombustible—patio, to keep the fire burning with some hot jazz. 317 3rd St. West Sacramento. 572-0909. burgersbrew.com
This former roadhouse on Route 16 has been treasured by the Tahoe-bound, in one form or another, since 1850, but after being taken over and revamped as a fine dining steakhouse last December by Ron and Terri Gilliland (who also run Lucky Dog Ranch, Roxy and Lucca), it’s become a worthy destination in its own right. This summer promises to be something special out Meadowlands’ way, with the explosion of bright emerald foliage brought on by a rainy winter, not to mention the extra babbling provided by Deer Creek, which runs right by the outdoor deck, shaded by great, arching oaks. With music every weekend, the patio here is a great place to wind down after a day of local wine tasting, and the perfect spot for a cowboy brunch (we suggest an order of biscuits with maple-sausage-jalapeño gravy, or the cult-favorite Elvis bacon cheeseburger topped with egg). 12700 Meiss Rd. Sloughhouse. 525-1575. meadowlands.restaurant
The biergarten at this brand-new hofbrau in Oak Park's Broadway Triangle district gives sweet new meaning to the idea of urban sprawl, with a flurry of bright orange tables spilling across Mule Alley, inviting casual lingering of a balmy evening. A fire pit and strings of Edison lights criscrossing the alleyway add levity and sparkle, making this the place for neighbors and day-trippers alike to congregate over a frosty Teutonic beverage and slice of succulent rotisserie chicken or hearty sausage plate after browsing the shops along one of Sacramento’s best new retail strips. If one of your friends is feeling more like a fiesta than a frankfurter, feel free to bring in a plate of tacos from La Venadita down the street—both joints are owned by brothers Tom and David Schnetz. 3413 Broadway. 376-7694. oakhaussac.com
The Jungle Bird
If a tropical vacation is on your mind around quitting time, save your airline points and head to this tiki bar and restaurant in midtown, where the colorful patio (and a creamy piña colada or two) will quickly whisk your weekday blues away and transport you to island time. Decked out with glowing torches, straw-thatched umbrellas, bamboo-covered walls, and nautical nets and rope, Jungle Bird’s patio also features a bar in the corner that on weekends serves up house-made boozy slushies with names like the Frozen Painkiller and the Bartender on Acid. You can’t miss the splashy mural in sunset colors that co-owners Tyler Williams and Buddy Newby hand-painted just before the bar opened last October—it’s the perfect backdrop for sharing a pu pu platter with friends at happy hour or spending a Sunday feasting on the hot spot’s new brunch dishes. Aloha! 2516 J St. 476-3280. thejunglebird.com
Wildwood Kitchen & Bar
This art-filled bistro in the Pavilions shopping center has one of the most welcoming patios in town. Cozy, cushioned banquettes surround the fire pits, where flames lick over piles of steel “twigs” by sculptor Marc Foster. Trees festooned with twinkle lights branch out over tables where you can share creative small plates like buttered naan and mushroom bruschetta, or dig into a smoked rib eye or one of chef and co-owner Fred Haines’ seasonal pasta dishes. Just plan to feast your eyes along with your belly, as the plating here can be as artistic as the décor. On your way out, don’t forget to take a selfie with The Lollies—seated statues of a couple of friendly matrons by artist Ruth Rippon, perched on the edge of a nearby fountain. 556 Pavilions Ln. 922-2858. wildwoodpavillions.com
Maybe it’s the oasis-like ambiance in this totally enclosed grotto with a babbling fountain, dramatic fire pit and comfy seating beneath a tree so imposing and magical it could have starred in a Lord of the Rings movie. Or maybe it’s the wafting aroma of brisket and ribs bedded down for a 14-hour nap in the adjacent smoker. Whatever it is, the expansive back patio at this new dog-friendly neighborhood tavern on Del Paso Boulevard, run by husband-and-wife team Deneb Williams (formerly the executive chef at The Firehouse) and Elizabeth-Rose Mandalou (a sommelier, formerly of Ella), is sure to be a popular hangout this summer. It’s only a five-minute hop across the river from midtown, but you’ll have to compete with locals from the Del Paso and Woodlake neighborhoods for the best tables, especially on a Thursday, which is dollar rib night. 1431 Del Paso Blvd. 514-0405. woodlaketavern.com