Burgers, Salads & Pizza: Patio Dining in the D

By: Amber Ogden | May 8, 2015
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, my friends. Patio season is upon us! I don’t know about you, but after being cooped up indoors for months on end, the last thing I want to do is spend more time inside than I have to.

Whether you’re dining out at a restaurant alfresco or cooking up a meal in your own kitchen and enjoying it on your own patio set, food just tastes better in the fresh air, doesn’t it?

If you’re looking for some patios to enjoy this weekend, look no further than the following establishments in Metro Detroit:

Bigalora, 3050 Washtenaw, Ann Arbor, is one of several of the wood fired kitchen’s Metro Detroit locations, but this one is extra special. Why, you ask? Because the Ann Arbor one just recently debuted a brand new covered patio. Not only that, but the new seasonal menu perfectly reflects the tastes of spring in each salad, pizza and pasta dish.


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Small plates include Wood Roasted Heirloom Carrots (with balsamic glaze, goat cheese and peanuts) and Fried Shishito Peppers topped with sea salt. If you’re looking for something on the healthy side, consider a Navel Orange salad (with red onion, Kalamata olives, extra virgin olive oil, parsley and black pepper) or Wood Roasted Beets salad (arugula topped with olive pesto, walnuts, red onion, roasted beets, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette).

There are tons of red and white pizzas to choose from, and you can’t go wrong with the Wood Roasted Vegetables (a pie topped with house blend mozzarella, roasted onion, zucchini and tomato). Also consider the Farm Egg, Sausage and Peppers or Roasted Tomato pizza.

Stella’s Black Dog Tavern, 860 Fralick St., Plymouth, is home to one of my personal favorite patios, and since it’s covered, you can enjoy the open air whether it’s sprinkling or the sun is shining.

Enjoy a few beers, or if you’re hungry for a full meal, start off with Stella’s Pretzel Bites (served with queso and jalapenos) or Steak Strips (charbroiled with mushrooms, scallions and served with baguette).

The Tavern Burger is a popular choice, and consists of a half-pound beef patty cooked to your liking. B.D.’s Baskets haven’t let me down yet, and you can choose from Chicken Strips, Shrimp, Fish or Clams, or create your own combo with any two of the aforementioned items. Pizza and Mexican dishes are also on the menu.

Tom’s Oyster Bar, 318 S. Main St., Royal Oak, offers a lovely patio situated in downtown Royal Oak, where you can enjoy excellent food and people watching at the same time. In order to ring in patio season this year, the restaurant debuted a new menu of Moscow Mules. Meet your friends for happy hour after work and enjoy a Cucumber Mule (cucumber vodka, lime juice and ginger beer) or Shiner’s Mule (Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine, lime, ginger beer and peach puree) outside.

If you and your group are looking for a taste of everything, start off with the East Coast Sampler, which consists of Oysters Rockefeller, firecracker shrimp, fried calamari, crab cake fritters and spinach artichoke dip. Lobster Mac is also under the “sharables” section, but no one will fault you for devouring it on your own.

Crab Cake Sliders, Grilled Cheese and Tomato, Baja Fish Tacos and Smoked Salmon BLT are all great options for enjoying outside.

Le Petit Zinc, 1055 Trumbull St., Detroit, offers a patio situated in a lush garden with a fountain. What more could you ask for? Crepes, of course! Sweet or savory, the only problem you’ll have here is narrowing down what to order. Try a breakfast item, like fresh fruit salads or croissants, or quiche or salad for lunch.

Savory crepes including roasted mushroom, smoked salmon or ham and cheese are great choices, as well as sweet options like honey, chocolate, Nutella or butter and sugar. You can, of course, offset the butter and sugar crepe with a side of fruit salad, right?

When perusing the menu, keep in mind that there’s always a crepe of the day, which might include something like a spinach, apple and Brie concoction, or chocolate, banana and walnut.

Garage Grill & Fuel Bar, 202 W. Main St., Northville, is a restaurant located in a restored gas station. While the inside of the building is historic and super cool, save it for a rainy day! The patio is a great place to enjoy anything from a burger to pasta to seafood.

Should you be refueling for lunch, order the Northville Chicken Salad (mixed greens topped with grilled chicken, sundried cherries, walnuts, cucumber, gorgonzola cheese, red onion and apple walnut vinaigrette), Bubba’s Louisiana Shrimp Pizza (with white sauce, provolone and mozzarella cheese, shrimp and smoked mushrooms) or Waldorf Crunch Sandwich (with turkey, walnut spread, celery-onion slaw, grilled apple, melted havarti cheese, lettuce and white truffle mayo).

Dinner offers similar options, including Lake Perch, Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast and Kiln Blasted Cedar Salmon entrees.

Local Kitchen and Bar, 344 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale, offers a patio that is great for brunch, lunch or dinner. Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Items on the brunch menu include Avocado Toast (with citrus-cured salmon, poached eggs and ranchero sauce), Oatmeal Pancakes (topped with fresh berries, granola, maple syrup and cinnamon butter) and Ribbon Salad (greens topped with sunchoke, pita, watermelon radish, goat cheese and charred citrus).

The dinner menu includes main dishes like pan-seared scallops, pulled pork with bleu cheese grits, confit of lamb shoulder and turkey meatloaf.

No matter where you choose to dine alfresco in the D, it’s virtually impossible to not enjoy yourself while enjoying a meal on a beautiful, warm day.