Friday, April 16, 2010

Best Patios in Tulsa: TDT Friday Advice Column

Stonehorse Cafe

As someone who blogs about things to do in Tulsa, I field lots of questions about the city and all the stuff there is to do within its borders.

While I'm cool with answering these questions on Facebook, Twitter and by e-mail, I also highlight an FAQ every week with a post here at TDT. I'm sure the folks who pose the questions aren't the only ones who would benefit from their answers.

Let's get started.

Q. The weather in Tulsa has been amazing lately. Where is the best patio in Tulsa?

A. When you're looking for a place in Tulsa to eat a good meal (or drink a cold beer) outside, it's tough to pick just one favorite. Some aren't even comparable to the others, for one. For two, I know that sometimes I want a quiet, secluded patio - other times I want to be in the middle of the action at a bustling, street-side patio.

But, thanks to the help of TDT fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter, here's a list of the best of the best patio restaurants in the area, categorized by region. Be sure to weigh in on which you think are the best in the comments section of this post.


Boston Avenue, Northbound

El Guapo, 332 E. First Street
The rooftop patio at El Guapo, the three-story Mexican restaurant in Tulsa's Blue Dome District, was by far the restaurant patio about which T-Town's social media world is most excited now that outdoor dining weather has officially arrived.

"Great food, good view, no traffic and the servers have the best tattoos in Tulsa!" was how local photographer and artist Marty Coleman described the rooftop patio at El Guapo.

"Forget patios, rooftops are where it's at," said Michael Champlin, creator of The Tulsa Project, a local online magazine. "I double dog dare you to beat that view."

When a patio is as sought-after as the one at El Guapo is, to make reservations would be wise. Either that or be ready to wait.

"I love Tucci's and El Guapo, but we have a hard time getting to sit up there" on the rooftop patio, Susan Vineyard said on Facebook.

Elwood's Restaurant (f.k.a. River's Edge), 19th and Riverside Drive
Everyone's got springtime twitterpation over Elwood's Restaurant, the reincarnation of The River's Edge, T-Town's lamented former riverfront cafe. Now that Elwood's is open, everyone from downtown's lunch crowd to the thousands of walkers, runners and bikers who use RiverParks each day can stop in for a sandwich, a hot dog and/or a cold beer.

"My dog asked me to vote for River's Edge," Brian Elliott said on Facebook. "He's happy it's back."

Arnie's, 318 E. Second Street
"Arnie's has the best patio downtown," said Holly Wall, senior editor at Tulsa Business Journal and arts writer with Urban Tulsa Weekly. "No contest. End of story. It's quaint, and the trees and brush offer nice shade. Scratch that. It's the best patio in town."

The Hunt Club, 224 N. Main Street
"The Hunt Club's new second-story patio is super-cool," said Jonathan Bolzle on Facebook. "The vibe is urban and cosmopolitan."

Lola's at the Bowery, 5 East Brady.
"Lola's at the Bowery," said Kristen Bergman, president of Atmos Strategic Communications. "She burns pinion wood and it smells yum."

Dilly Deli, 402 E. Second Street.
Bocce ball and a little something called a Jon Michael, a sandwich packed with a pound and a half of pastrami and swiss cheese, served on rye.

"You can't go wrong with Dilly Deli," said Kevin Pyle on Twitter.

Joe Momma's, 112 S. Elgin
Now that Oneok Field is open downtown, this patio, right on the thoroughfare between parking and the ballpark, is right in the middle of the action. Plus, there's cheeseburger pizza to be had. It'll make you cry in a good way.

Elote Cafe, 514 S. Boston Ave.
If you're looking for a big city feel the next time you feel like dining alfresco, Elote and its sidewalk patio on Boston is the place to be.

The Boulder Grill, 17 W. Seventh Street
Homemade tater tots. Also, a fire pit. It also helps that this restaurant is all the rage amongst downtown movers and shakers these days.

Caz's Chowhouse, 18 E. Brady Street
Get chicken fried steak and other Oklahoma classics on a patio in the middle of Tulsa's arts district. Mmm, mmm, good.

Fat Guy's Burger Bar, 140 N. Greenwood
Imagine: Eating a big, fat double burger, drinking a big, fat Marshall IPA and then taking about 20 paces to the west to enjoy a Drillers game at Oneok Field. It's all possible from the patio at Fat Guy's.

Cherry Street

White Owl Pub

Full Moon Cafe, 1525 E. 15th Street 
Get covered, pergola-style alfresco dining at this cafe that serves American classics and really, really cold beer - even colder than that on Friday nights closest to the full moon.

Tucci's, 1344 East 15th Street
Dine Cherry Street-side on some seriously yummy pizza and pasta.

Camille's Sidewalk Cafe, 1342 E. 15th Street
The name says it all. This patio goes especially well with the downtown backdrop and a giant slice of Camille's carrot cake. Or, a glass of white wine.

White Owl, 1325 E. 15th Street
Dine outside without being exposed to the elements. Order the loaded fries and a few rounds of Marshall IPA.

Coffeehouse on Cherry Street, 1502 E. 15th Street
That patio at Coffeehouse on Cherry Street (known by locals as CHOCS) is my favorite place to spend a weekend morning. Topeca coffee and pastries and quiches, many of which are vegan or vegetarian, are what's for breakfast. The chiminea and incredible customer service top off the CHOCS patio experience.

Utica Square

More Queenies

Stonehorse Cafe, 1748 Utica Square
"Stonehorse Saturday brunches are THE BEST," said Jessica Judd on Facebook. Indeed, Jessica - check out the prettiest and some of the best-tasting quiche in town. Have only with champagne.

The Wild Fork, 1820 Utica Square
The Wild Fork is the place to see and be seen and get your outdoor dining on at the same time. Adjacent to the main courtyard in Tulsa's first upscale shopping center, it's like dining in a fancy garden, too.

Queenie's, 1834 Utica Square
You could dine inside at bustling Queenie's, or you could spend your lunch on a Utica Square sidewalk, people watching. Which can get pretty fancy in that part of town.


Cafe Ole, 3509 S. Peoria Ave.
The patio at Cafe Ole is in the heart of Brookside, Tulsa's original cruising strip-turned-upscale shopping and dining district.

"Great food, terrific atmosphere and the best margaritas," said Melanie Biskup of this Tulsa patio.

Here's a tip on what to order: "I live for Cafe Ole queso," said Kate Spencer on Twitter. Believe me when I say, believe Kate Spencer.

The Brook, 3401 S. Peoria Ave.
The Brook offers yet another kid-friendly, street-side patio - it's completel enclosed, but when all the windows are open, you could be said to be approximately 72 percent outside. At least, that's what my figures tell me. Order the buffalo chicken sandwich with macaroni and cheese as your side.

Crow Creek Tavern, 3534 S. Peoria Ave.
Got a bike? As in, the kind of a motor in it. If so, you'll fit right in at Crow Creek. With nightly live entertainment and a spot right alongside Brookside, this patio is choice for anyone looking for a post-dinner drink.

Cosmo's Cafe and Bar, 3334 S. Peoria Ave.
If you're a cosmo girl (or a cosmo guy - the folks at Cosmo are more than willing to serve their signature drinks in dude-friendly glassware), this enclosed patio is the place for you.

The Brasserie, 3509 S. Peoria Ave.
The Brasserie is one of my very favorite places in Tulsa to have brunch. Choose from the likes of a Belgian Waffle with Apple Pear Chutney and warm maple syrup, traditional eggs benedict and the breakfast tarte (with egg, bacon, gruyere, roasted tomato and creme fraiche) , and don't forget to order a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa.

Blue Moon Bakery, 3807 S. Peoria Ave.
It gets boisterous inside at Blue Moon Bakery, and seating can be hard to come by - the food there is just that good. Where better to go if you're looking for a somewhat quieter setting and extra seats than the Blue Moon patio? "Plus, it opens early for breakfast," said Gary Black, owner of another Center 1 shop, Black Optical.

Southtown and Beyond

RiverWalk Crossing, Jenks

Calistoga Bar and Grill, 500 Riverwalk Terrace at RiverWalk Crossing in Jenks
For riverside dining and some choice people watching opportunities, not to mention a great wine list and even better food, head to this California-reminiscent reprieve of a cabana patio and bar.

Elm Street Pub, 329 S. Elm Street in Jenks
Southtowners can't stop talking about this Jenks pub and grill.

Louie's Grill and Bar, 6310 East 101st Street in Jenks
The mommy bloggers of south Tulsa can't get enough of this place. Let me tell you, if anyone can gauge the worthiness of a patio at a bar, it's a mom.

Red Rock Canyon Grill, 9916 Riverside Parkway in south Tulsa
The south Tulsa iteration of this Oklahoma City-based small chain of upscale restaurants - thinks surf and turf, excellent steaks and a good wine list - comes complete with one of the best patios in town, right by the Arkansas River. There's even a couple's swing.
"Red Rock is great when they open the doors and have live music," said Sandy Martin on Facebook.

2 Brothers Bistro, 13330 South Memorial Drive in Bixby
Get breakfast or lunch on this Bixby patio throughout the week. If it's dinnertime on Friday or Saturday night, 2 Brothers Bistro is ready to seat you outside.
"Covered patio surrounded by blooming trees and an awesome meal," said Robert Founds, noting also that he digs that 2 Brothers is right by the river.

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Anonymous said...

Garlic Rose on Brookside now has a Patio; not just in the Courtyard; but on the 35th Street!

Walela said...

Fuji on Brookside has a great patio too! I had their lunch time sushi special outside on Monday and it was beautiful.

Mom Mayhem says: said...

Great post Tasha! But,riddle me this batman-Er Tasha ;) Which ones would you say are the most kid friendly? I was wondering about this kind of thing the other day and besides taking a picnic lunch to a park -Was curious about some ideas on kid-friendly eat-outside type places?!
Seems hard to find nowadays. Remember when as an example even places like McD's had outside play and eat areas for kids -I always remember the McD's on 21st and Sheridan used to have a play area and little caboose :)

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Leon's awesome patio. 33rd and Peoria.

Adam said...

The Canebrake in Wagoner has a great patio and has "Dog Night on the Patio" every Thursday. They also have a kid menu.

Anonymous said...

This definitely is the new standard for all Tulsa patio lists. One minor correction... The big new Blue Moon is at 3512 S. Peoria.


Dana and Daisy said...

Honestly, I don't think you can beat my patio at home! Loving it! Open for breakfast, lunch, supper and cocktails, coffee, lemonade and tea served daily!

But in case we feel the need to leave the comforts of home, thanks for posting this terrific list.

Sasha @ Global Table said...

Ohh I was wondering the same thing as Mom Mayhem.. kid friendly... I once read about a coffee shop that had a play area for kids and wi fi and everything. I think it was in Chicago. How great if someone opened up one here in T-town :)

Judd said...

What about midtown and south Tulsa. Places like Mimi's Cafe, Fox and Hound, On the Border (kinda), Fishbonz, Los Cabos...

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