By Anna Caplan
With the summertime heat waning and the promise of cooler months to come, what better time is there than now to eat outside? From patios with a relaxed vibe to see-and-be-seen perches, here are our favorite outdoor dining rooms in the area.
Note: this story has been ready for publication for well over a month, but we were afraid we would get laughed out of FW-TX if we promoted outdoor patios in 90 and 100 degree weather. We hope the weather will cooperate for months and months and you can enjoy some of the best outdoor patio dining in the southwest…right here in Fort Worth!
With its rustic motif and Trinity River vista, Tim Love’s Woodshed never disappoints. While the kids run around or play ping-pong in the bar (trust us, it’s family friendly), adults “love” to kick back with sangrias, margaritas or pitchers of Shock Top plus excellent fare (Shiner Bock fondue, anyone?). The venue features primo views of the water, shady spots, and an inside dining room should the patio runneth over.
This perennial Fort Worth institution (since 1935) packs ’em in, and for good reason. Whether it’s a family-style dinner you’re after (pace yourself with those addictive cheese nachos!) or the beef fajitas, the strong margarita pairs with it all. Add rambling, gorgeous gardens with blossoming flowers to the mix, and it’s a recipe for a good time.
After a lengthy temporary closure, L.U.S.T Burger fans are now rejoicing. The new location for this ex-Magnolia Avenue haunt is on trendy South Main Street, south of downtown, and offers double the indoor—and outdoor—space. Housed in a former flag manufacturing warehouse, the restaurant continues to raise the bar on excellent “bar food.” One bite of the L.U.S.T., with its roasted poblanos and feta cheese-infused patty, followed by a dunk of a fried leek into a creamy housemade sauce, and you’ll be sitting pretty—whether in a lounge chair or at an outside table.
This downtown favorite scores points with its live music, as well as innovative movie nights and Friday Night Flights. Underneath a soaring canopy, regulars revel in the encyclopedic beer menu, and the food is just as enjoyable. Buttered soft pretzels, near-jaw-breaking burgers and hot wings await.
Fort Worth’s most beloved rooftop patio has been the landing pad for raucous groups and special family gatherings for years. Equal parts secluded and serene, the location offers an excellent vantage point to enjoy downtown—all the while noshing on the legendary tenderloin tamales or an order of Tumbleweed Onion Rings.
Restaurateur Felipe Armenta’s Trinity River-adjacent hotspot has been popular since it opened, which was wisely just ahead of its classy Clearfork neighbors. Early morning customers swear by the banana nut waffles, while late-night diners take double-dips of the Medi dip—whether upstairs or downstairs on the two-tiered patio. Service is relaxed, and you will be too.
Serving arguably the best Italian around—and I’m including Dallas in this assertion—Piattello is the gold standard. Housemade delicate pastas, seasonal ingredients and an seasoned staff will elevate any meal here. And dining on its small but buoyant patio on a temperate night will simply add to the pleasure. Overlooking a small green space, people watching is at a premium. But don’t let your eyes stray too long—or someone else will have stolen the last piece of calamari fritti.
Expect classic Italian at Bella, located a dinner roll’s throw away from the TCU campus, and expect to wait for a table. But it’s all worth it at owner Eli Golemi’s wildly popular restaurant. On most nights, the flower-bedecked patio is full, brimming with families, co-eds, young professionals—just about every demographic. Because who doesn’t like a BYOB joint that feels, well, like home?
This newish entry into the al fresco dining field surprises with innovative food and a festive atmosphere. With its railroad theme—it abuts the Union Pacific Davidson Yard—and spacious indoor/outdoor dining, kids and adults can run amok. A fun, State Fair-esque menu adds to the excitement here (funnel cakes!), and the Loaded Tots, with queso, bacon bits and ground beef, are particularly thrilling.
Housed in a former gas station, this new Mansfield eatery is making repeat customers rather quickly, thanks to a winning tacos-beer-cocktails formula. Pet friendly too, the airy space makes good on a fun time with beer flights, live music and even ice cream.
With a Hall of Famer quarterback as its namesake, Troy’s is certain to score with legions of fans. Located in Texas Live!, the venue features live music, signature cocktails, ubiquitous “sharable sides” and an indoor/outdoor stage. A lush outdoor garden patio spotlights a live oak tree, all the better to gather ‘round for highly quaffable food and drink.
Downtown Arlington has clearly embraced this year-old gastropub-like ice house. One look at the menu, and you will too. An eclectic mix of fare, from poutine to pork belly quesadillas to a Korean barbecue burger woos the foodie crowd, while the beer garden, shady green space and a plethora of libations is sure to win the rest over. Touchdown, indeed!
Anna Caplan is a Fort Worth freelance critic who has contributed reviews and news to the Star-Telegram since 2009. She and the WUFW team came up with this list of Top Outdoor Patios.