Patio season is fairly short in Michigan. We get four maybe five months if we're lucky, so it makes sense that many of us get really excited when restaurants open their patios for spring and summer. It's pretty easy to find exhaustive lists of patios around metro Detroit, but I want to shine the spotlight on three places, each with a unique patio setting and delicious food and drink to make the al fresco dining experience even better.
If you're in the mood for date night...
Try Joe Muer Seafood inside the Renaissance Center. Romance is difficult to get right, so let the professionals take care of it for you. The patio overlooks the Detroit River towards the Windsor skyline. It's a quiet, elegant patio ideal for sipping some champagne or enjoying some of Detroit's freshest oysters.
Joe Muer is known for seafood, of course, so any of the seafood options are a safe bet. Order three sushi rolls and a bottle of wine (Joe Muer boasts one of Detroit's best wine lists) and you have a perfect patio meal for two. Course out your romantic night out by starting with ceviche then moving on to lamb chops and finishing with the incredible coconut cake – definitely do not skip dessert.
If you want to take the family out...
Try Clubhouse BFD. It might seem odd to suggest one of America's best beer bars as a family friendly spot, but General Manager Jason Peltier thinks differently, “We offer an invitingly fun atmosphere that is appropriate for both young and old. Being a family accessible environment has been a key goal since day one and we have not wavered from that. Jenga (Giant & table-sized), picnic/community style seating, 2 porch swings, a traditional kid menu including PB & J and mac and cheese, and our house made root beer keep the children happy so the parents can relax and enjoy their time out.
Finish with deep fried Oreos and the kid in all of us will be smiling. The patio is spacious with plenty of seating for larger groups or for kids to run around. During happy hour, the deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich is something both parents and kids alike could enjoy together. Pair with a chocolaty stout for the adults or a tall glass of milk for the kids. If you can't make it during happy hour, Clubhouse's regular menu is family friendly too.
As Peltier mentioned above, there is a kids' menu with house made macaroni and cheese and hand breaded chicken fingers, but the regular menu has plenty of approachable fare as well. Burgers are half pound and potentially shareable. Nifty's Choice is a burger topped with cheddar, thick cut bacon, BFD sauce, and an onion ring. Order it on a pretzel bun for added deliciousness.
If you want to visit Detroit's hot spot...
Try Townhouse. With two locations, one in Detroit and another in Birmingham, Townhouse's patios are the places to be in both cities. Owner Jeremy Sasson explains why, “I believe it has a lot to do with the fact that our concept, our restaurant design, and the personality of our brand is built around pushing the limits of al fresco dining; from excellence in food to interesting cocktails and stellar music, we consider the entire outdoor experience from start to finish. Additionally, we feel that taking advantage of Michigan's beautiful summer weather is not only something that makes us recognizable, but something our guests appreciate.”
Townhouse Detroit's patio has a retractable roof, so it is open all year around. It is a truly gorgeous space that somehow gives a feeling of being somewhere besides Detroit. Their menu is unique as well, During the summer months, they offer a lobster roll that is brimming with flown-in- daily lobster meat.
Typically a Eastern US delicacy, Townhouse's lobster roll is classic in preparation with lightly dressed lobster salad on a buttered brioche roll. It's luxurious summer dining.
Joe Muer - http://www.joemuer.com/
400 Renaissance Center #1404, Detroit, MI 48243 - (313) 567-6837
Clubhouse BFD - http://www.clubhousebfd.com/
2265 Crooks Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48309 - (248) 289-6093
Townhouse Detroit - http://eatattownhouse.com/
500 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226 - (313) 723-1000