I heard a molecular biologist this week say that we are around 20 times more likely to contract COVID 19 while indoors as opposed to outside. If that is true, then it makes sense that we should be leaning toward eating outdoors as much as possible these days. Fortunately, many of our best local restaurants offer outdoor dining options and there are plenty of decks, patios, courtyards and such to enjoy a delicious meal while social distancing. Here are some great ones.
At Cucina Wine Bar, owner Dean Pierose and his team have turned their parking lot into an outdoor dining space in order to accommodate more restaurant customers while safely social distancing. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty of parking at this cozy Avenues dining and drinking spot. And, you can enjoy talented chef Joey Ferran’s exquisite cuisine al fresco with dishes such as his excellent ahi tuna poke; crab cakes with shrimp mousseline; lobster gnocchi with summer squash and lion’s mane mushrooms; Oaxacan chile pappardelle; and roasted Cornish game hen with baked rosemary risotto. And, an added plus: Cucina has live music on the patio every Saturday night through September, beginning at 6 p.m. – reservations required.
Located in the Center Street space in the Marmalade neighborhood that was previously home to Em’s, chef/owner Milo Carrier launched Arlo restaurant this week featuring what is described as “a nimble take out menu of classic favorites – pizza, pasta, and salad” as well as accepting dine-in reservations for eating on their large, shaded patio. Tempting menu items include halibut with avocado salsa verde; potato and aged cheddar agnolotti; pizza with mushrooms, gouda and roasted chicories; heirloom braised beans & clams; golden beet tartine, and more. There’s also a smallish but very well-selected wine, beer and spirits list available.
People come from far and near to enjoy dining on the spacious decks of Log Haven restaurant in Millcreek Canyon, where chef Dave Jones’ cuisine is on par with the stunning outdoor vistas, courtesy of Mother Nature. The Log Haven summer menu includes scrumptious dishes like Achiote Grilled Salmon with black bean and hominy puree; Roasted Poblano Chili Risotto; Grill Duck Breast with butternut squash puree; Pan-Seared Ahi Tuna with sherry-roasted heirloom carrots, potato puree and lobster Americaine sauce, and much more, including an award winning wine list.
If you’re a lover of Neapolitan-style pizza like I am, you’ll want to grab a seat on the MidiCi patio at The Gateway. Kick things off with jumbo-size meatballs made with Angus beef, topped with fresh Italian marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and served with rustic grilled bread (also baked in-house) alongside. Then you’ll want pizza, of course. There’s plenty to choose from, ranging from the classic Margherita and Double Pepperoni to Truffle & Prosciutto, Chicken Pesto, Bianco, Shrimp Scampi, and my favorite one called The Devil’s, with spicy homemade Italian sauce, spicy Italian salami and spicy red chilies. Be sure to save room for the outrageously decadent Nutella Calzone for dessert.
And while we’re discussing Italian fare, we’d be remiss not to mention the gorgeous outdoor dining deck at Stoneground Italian Kitchen, which is open for safe-distance dining as well as curbside comfort service. Begin with a classic Caprese salad or the addictive Polenta Tots with truffle oil before moving on to a perfect pizza, pasta, or entree like Chicken Piccata, Gnocchi alla Vodka, Wild Isles Salmon, Black Tagliatelle with lobster, and other tempting dishes from chef Justin Shifflett. And hey, remember there’s free parking behind the restaurant.
Table X will reopen for dine-in customers on Friday, July 17th with added outdoor seating available in their back garden and parking area. Until then, Table X continues to offer it’s takeout family meals and a full a la carte menu, as well as the restaurant’s scrumptious sourdough bread to go.
Up in Park City, Deer Valley Resort’s Royal Street Cafe features al fresco dining from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily for lunch on the scenic deck. Menu options include delectable items such as the fresh Dungeness Crab Tower with sauces of wasabi, ginger-soy and sweet chile or Yellowfin Tuna Tartare with an arugula truffle oil and lemon salad. Also available is Deer Valley’s famous Turkey Chili, panini sandwiches, their award-winning Bacon BBQ Bison Burger, entrees, salads, sensational desserts, wine, cocktails, beer and more.
A bit further up the road, the owners of Tupelo Park City have opened a new farm to table-style eatery in Heber called Afterword. Menu items range from starters such as Maine Crab Fritters, Fire-Roasted Lamb T-Bone Bites, and Heirloom Carrot Salad, to entrees like Roasted Idaho Trout, Smoked Rabbit Pot Pie, Rocky Mountain Elk Meatloaf, and Desert Mountain Ranch Flat Iron Steak. Situated in a historic Main Street brownstone built in 1888, Afterword offers diners a sprawling patio to spread out on.
The shaded garden patio at Caffe Molise is open for outdoor dining during dinner service, from 5 p.m. And, on Fridays you can enjoy live jazz from the John Flanders Trio on the patio. Antipasti options at Caffe Molise include Ravioli con Zucca, Bruschetta Misto, Polenta con Salsiccia and others. An array of delicious pasta dishes are available, as are entrees such as grilled Bistecca, Pollo Marsala, Polpette di Melanzane. Pesce del Giorno and more. Be sure to stick around for the Hazelnut Mousse Cake for dessert.
If you’re looking to dine on a truly eye popping patio, look no further than Tuscany restaurant. Mark Eaton’s popular dining destination features Italian fare running the gamut from Tuscan meatballs and beef carpaccio to wood oven lasagna, pork & beef meatloaf, shrimp linguini, eggplant parmesan and much more. Tuscany now features live music on the patio featuring artists such as Brooke Mackintosh, James Derrikson, Melissa McDonald, Shannon Runyon, Terrence Hansen, John Sherrill, Nate Robinson and others.
For a fun and funky outdoor dine and drink destination you’d be hard-pressed to top The Garage on Beck. Bob McCarthy’s popular rockin’ roadhouse offers socially distanced live music, a wide selection of fresh adult beverages, and some of the best pub fare in town. Homemade tortilla chips with pico de gallo is a good starter before jumping in to rib-sticking entrees like chicken & waffles, chipotle mac n’ cheese, Southern twice-fried chicken, Mama’s Pot Pie, and a great selection of burgers and sandwiches like my favorite, the Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich.
Culinary quote of the week:
“Schizophrenia beats dining alone.” — Oscar Levant
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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