An old-school diner takes on modern operations
June 10, 2020
Prefer to dine in fresh air? We don’t blame you
With the number of Covid-19 cases in North Carolina trending upwards, many diners remain wary about eating in restaurants. Research indicates that outdoor dining can reduce your exposure to airborne virus particles, making patios especially desirable as we move into summer. In order to help restaurants expand their capacity while under dining room occupancy restrictions, the state is allowing restaurants to temporarily expand their outdoor seating areas to parking spaces or sidewalks.
For those just venturing back out or who prefer to remain in open air, we’ve put together our list of 10 favorite places to dine al fresco across town, and across cuisines. —Kristen Wile
Boudreaux’s Louisiana Kitchen, NoDa
Watch passersby in the heart of NoDa while noshing on classic Cajun and Creole fare, including étouffée and jambalaya. Be sure to save room for the fluffy, sugar-doused beignets.
The Fig Tree, Elizabeth
The Fig Tree’s white-tablecloth dining translates beautifully to its patio, the front porch of the historic Lucas House. Enjoy a quiet meal with consistent food and service amid well-kept greenery off Louise Avenue in Elizabeth.
Flour Shop, Montford Park
Park Road Shopping Center’s backlot, along the greenway, is a quiet hideaway from the hum of Park Road traffic. The sister concept to Customshop, Flour Shop focuses on handmade pastas and wood-fired proteins.
Futo Buta, South End
The chime of the light rail makes eating outside at Futo Buta feel extra urban. It’s easy to forget about this ramen shop when the weather turns hot, but don’t overlook cooler options like the rice crispy squares — one of our favorite dishes in town — and steamed buns. There’s currently no table service outside, but the patio is open.
The Goodyear House, NoDa
Opening just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, The Goodyear House serves laid-back local fare with international touches. During the forced closure, staff expanded the restaurant’s patio to the lot next door, allowing more reservations under twinkle lights and a hundred-year-old tree.
Hello, Sailor, Cornelius
For the area’s best lake-front dining, head up 77 to Hello, Sailor, a reimagined fish camp from the owners of Kindred (another great patio contender). If it’s a hot day, enjoy the frozen negroni slushy while watching boats float by.
Kid Cashew, Dilworth
Even before Covid-19, the patio at Kid Cashew was more popular than the interior — and for good reason. Prime real estate on East Boulevard, options for a variety of dietary restrictions, and chic feel make it a top destination for outdoor dining.
The Mad Greek, Sedgefield
This restaurant’s gyros transport you to Greece, complete with gentlemen at a nearby table speaking Greek and reading the paper. Order an extra gyro to take home, and you’ll have tomorrow’s lunch.
The Porter’s House, Waverly
The South Charlotte outpost of Rare Roots Hospitality (Dressler’s, Dogwood, Fin & Fino) has taken advantage of the expanded patio rules, stretching out into the pavement winding through the Waverly development. The modern steakhouse also has live music on Fridays.
Reid’s Fine Foods, SouthPark
The upscale restaurant and marketplace’s signature Kelly green decor outside makes its patio feel like a continuation of the dining room, while TVs, a fireplace, fans, and heat lamps help make dining outside comfortable in any season.