10 new spots to dine outdoors in Metro Detroit

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

After months of cool weather, Michigan diners can’t be faulted for wanting to enjoy a meal in the sun. The recent holiday weekend marked the opening of many local patio, terrace, garden and other outdoor dining areas.

Here are 10 restaurants in the area that have recently started offering al fresco dining:

Jim Brady’s Detroit: After its November opening, Royal Oak’s Jim Brady’s became a neighborhood hot spot for its daily specials, mod-retro decor and friendly bartenders. Last month, a tree-lined veranda made its debut off to the side of the dining area. Some of the best times to visit are Mondays for half-off burgers and Sundays for $3 Bloody Marys and mimosas. On Wednesday, the Big Junior sandwiches — piled high with meat, toppings and French fries inside — are just $5. A brunch menu is forthcoming. 1214 S. Main, Royal Oak. (248) 306-1954.

Old German and Grizzly Peak: These beer-centric sister restaurants have street side outdoor seating. The Grizzly Peak’s 45-seat space has been operational for a while, but Old German just debuted its patio last year with handcrafted furniture by local woodsmith Adrienne Nickles. Both areas are not only dog-friendly, but offer a special dog menu. The restaurants’ general manager and resident dog-lover Stacy Baird developed the dog food menu, which includes salmon and chicken with rice, sliced hanger steak over potatoes and even dog-friendly ice cream. A portion of proceeds from their “Pups on the Patio” is donated to the Huron Valley Humane Society. 120 W. Washington, Ann Arbor. (734) 741-7554.

Cork and Rye: The only liquor store on this list, Farmington Hills’ newly opened Cork and Rye is also a deli, cafe and specialty market that hosts wine and beer tastings. In May, Cork and Rye opened a patio with umbrella tables and chairs, couches, picnic tables and a fireplace. 32418 Northwestern Hwy., Farmington Hills. (248) 862-5747.

Central Kitchen + Bar offers a view into Campus Martius in Detroit.

Central Kitchen + Cocktails: This is the first full summer for Central, which opened last August in downtown Detroit. The upscale bar and eatery has an outside lounge and dining area with a view of Campus Martius, and on nice days the breeze can also be felt while sitting at the bar inside. The lunch menu is your standard soup, salads, tacos and burgers, and for dinner you can have any of that plus entrees such as shrimp and grits, lamb lion chops and Asian ribs. 660 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 963-9000.

Townhouse Detroit, a spin-off of Townhouse in Birmingham, has plenty of outdoor seating in an open-air atrium with a retractable glass roof.

Townhouse Detroit: Around the corner from Central, Townhouse Detroit has plentiful seating outside and in an open-air atrium with a retractable glass roof. A spin-off of Townhouse in Birmingham (although the downtown Townhouse is much bigger), this spot also has separate lunch and dinner menus coming out of the open kitchen, as well as a sushi bar and a whiskey selection that may trump any other in town. 500 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 723-1000.

Zeke’s Rock and Roll BBQ: Enjoy the fragrance of smoking meats that wafts around Zeke’s newly-revamped outdoor section. A bamboo fence gives a tiki feel to the space, which will soon debut a rum-centric tiki drink and food menu. 240 W. Nine Mile, Ferndale. (248) 206-7130.

Mudgie’s: This artisan deli in Corktown continues to evolve. Among the soups, sandwiches and salads made-from-scratch with all natural and as local-as-possible ingredients, Mudgie’s recently gained a liquor license to up the dinner game. This week the expanded version of the patio opened with a fireplace and outdoor bar. 1300 Porter, Detroit. (313) 961-2000.

Selden Standard in Midtown is considered one of the best restaurants in Detroit, and features an outdoor dining option.

Selden Standard: Consistently considered one of the best restaurants in Detroit, this Midtown spot is open daily and serves brunch, lunch and dinner. Opened in 2014, a well-shaded patio came later, with a contemporary look and festive lighting. Selden Standard is popular, though, so if you want to go at peak times, try to call for a reservation. 3921 Second, Detroit. (313) 438-5055.

Waterfront Restaurant and Lounge: This American eatery, in the former Pier 500 restaurant space, has only been open for a few weeks. Two outdoor dining areas offer views of the Detroit River, and the atmosphere is casual enough for boaters and landlubbers. The menu has such seafood standards as shrimp cocktail, oysters Rockefeller, lake perch and surf and turf, as well as brick oven pizza, pretzel-crusted macaroni and cheese, a Michigan salad and pork chops. Accepts reservations through the Open Table app. 507 Biddle, Wyandotte. (734) 286-9046.

Brown Iron Brewhouse: This new smokehouse and beer bar has 70 beers on tap, most from Michigan. In fact, aside from special events, only beers made by American companies are served (which means no Budweiser). A 100-seat outdoor dining area, which debuted last summer, has a bar, fireplaces and communal seating. 57695 Van Dyke, Washington. (586) 697-3300.

Just opened: Granite City Brewery in the GM Renaissance Center opened its 1,600-square-foot patio last weekend, and the Fountain Detroit opened in Campus Martius, serving panini, burgers, salads, grilled Corridor sausages and small bites in the sandy beach area. The Skip, an outdoor cocktail lounge in the Belt Alley in Detroit, is slated to open Thursday.


Classic patios

Those are the new spots, but here are 10 Metro Detroit restaurants that are some standbys for summertime dining.

1917 American Bistro: Fried catfish, blackened chicken, stir-fry and rooftop dining. 19416 Livernois, Detroit. (313) 863-1917.

Bistro Joe’s: Heated and covered, this sunny patio overlooks Woodward and can be used beyond the warmer seasons. 34244 Woodward, Birmingham. (248) 594-0984.

Brownie’s On the Lake: An east side favorite — especially for party people — this waterfront restaurant can be accessed by land or sea. 24214 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores. (586) 445-8080.

Café Cortina: Upscale dining in a garden with stunning surroundings. 30715 W. 10 Mile, Farmington Hills. (248) 474-3033.

Compari’s on the Park: Enjoy pizza and Italian food with a streetside view of Kellogg Park. 350 S. Main, Plymouth. (734) 416-0100.

El Barzon: Upscale Mexican and Italian fusion with a gorgeous outdoor dining space, white tablecloths and all. 3710 Junction, Detroit. (313) 894-2070.

Joe Muer Seafood: Dine on seafood, steaks and more with a view of the Detroit River and Canada. 400 Renaissance, Detroit. (313) 567-6837.

La Dolce Vita: Classic Italian restaurant with a patio surrounded by greenery. 17546 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 865-0331.

The Whitney: Outdoor dining is available in warmer months in the garden outside this mansion-turned-restaurant. 4421 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 832-5700.

Z’s Villa: Casual atmosphere with comfort and bar foods, plus beach volleyball. 42 Piquette, Detroit. (313) 874-2680.

Greektown at Sundown

For the second summer, Greektown will close its main drag to car traffic in the evenings to create a walkable plaza. Greektown at Sundown starts Thursday and continues Friday-Sunday through Sept. 6. Monroe Street restaurants will offer outdoor seating, and the Greektown Preservation Society has organized entertainment and hands-on activities.