Dining out

The weather is finally nice enough to start eating outside! Here’s a selection of local places that serve food outdoors

Scott Finan and Kristin Waters enjoy lunch outside of Whole Foods, another outdoor hot spot at 6139 S. Virginia St.

Scott Finan and Kristin Waters enjoy lunch outside of Whole Foods, another outdoor hot spot at 6139 S. Virginia St.

photo by amy beck

In the summer, when the weather’s warm, there’s nothing more appealing than dining outdoors. The cool breeze and beaming sun can make any breakfast, lunch or dinner taste all the better, and soaking up a seasonal alcoholic beverage that much more refreshing. Which is why we scoured the city—gas prices be damned!—to turn up some of our favorite destinations to do just that: wine and dine with the possibility of a suntan.

Forget all your cares and go …

Downtown dwellers have it best. With the Truckee River and city parks littered among the buildings, the options for top-notch patios are abundant. But we managed to narrow it down to four.

Silver Peak Restaurant & Brewery (124 Wonder St.): While the newer model on Sierra Street’s patio isn’t too shabby, it’s the original that’s captured our hearts. In its current location for 12 years, the summer staple is home to the actual brewery of the Peak’s frothy beers. The rooftop patio is spacious, leaving plenty of room between you and your neighbor. So after a few drinks and possible dehydration from the sun leaves you and your friends laughing loudly over inside jokes, they can still stay just that—inside your table.

Wild River Grille (17 South Virginia St.): Nothing says summer like the roar of the river and the sight of rafters floating merrily down it. Wild River Grill treats diners not only to this natural backdrop, but also to its own entertainment of live music, the type that patrons can choose to either hone in on or let fade into the background of good conversation. It’s fine dining without pretentious frills.

Stone House Cafe (1907 Arlington Ave.): Ask a local where to find a hot spot for outdoor dining, and it seems like nine out of 10 will send you to Stone House. Like the building itself, the garden patio is straight out of a children’s fairytale novel. With twinkling lights and blooming flowers enclosing the tables, it seems the perfect spot to host a tea party or replace the kettle with a mimosa flute.

Rapscallion Seafood House and Bar (1555 South Wells Ave.): For Sunday brunch, enjoy a bit of old-school Reno out on the patio that classes up Wells Avenue. Rapscallion has been in the same spot, with the same tables, and even some of the same staff, since 1977. While it may be known more for its infamous St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, its outdoor seating, and Eggs Rapscallion, shouldn’t be overlooked on a warm sunny day.

Animal houses

The university area is not just for students anymore—at least, not in the summertime when the rest of us want to take advantage of its outdoor options, too.

Pub N’ Sub (1000 Ralston St.): A pub, a sub and a great patio? Oh my! This local’s favorite has the feel of a neighborhood barbecue, whether you’re hanging out on the front porch or the enclosed backyard patio. Between the picnic tables and the grassy lawn, it’s like your neighbor’s Fourth of July party every time you visit. And if you’re lucky, you might even get to pet Hamburger, the unofficial yard cat.

The Wolf Den (1305 N. Virginia St.): Formerly known as the Twisted Chimney and Fritz’s, the Wolf Den brings a whole different life to the party this time around with the addition of a rooftop patio. Not only can you engage in a game of beer pong under the blue sky, but you can also enjoy one of the famous “Awful, Awful” burgers in between shots.

Archie’s (2195 N. Virginia St.): With dual views of both the University of Nevada, Reno campus and the blooming San Rafael Park, Archie’s sliding glass doors reveal a modest patio but an unrivaled view. And just because it’s in the college area doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get a young, rowdy mob, according to one patron. “I like that it has the energy of a college bar, but with a more mature crowd,” says diner Maggie Bauman.

Becca Juell, left, and Cathie Christmas have dinner on the deck at Archie’s.

photo by amy beck

Sparks and recreation

Sparks’ summertime diners need some love, too. We found a few options for those venturing over the great divide.

Great Basin Brewing Company (846 Victorian Ave.): “We have the stage for concerts at night, and we have local artists that paint the tables,” explains waitress Christy Froberg of the perks to Great Basin’s outdoor dining area. Froberg also confirms that in the summer, business picks up a bit. Hear some music, sip on a handcrafted brew, and hang out at a fun, artistic table, all while taking in the sights of the courtyard’s passersby and the nearby railroad monument.

Cadillac Ranch (1330 Scheels Drive): One of the best perks to dining outdoors is the opportunity to people-watch, and Cadillac Ranch’s patio has a prime location for doing that. Overlooking Legends shopping center, you can catch all the colorful characters while enjoying tableside service and a full center bar.

Anchors Bar & Grill (325 Harbour Cove Drive): Location, location, location. It’s everything for this particular patio. Perched above the Sparks Marina, you can munch and marvel over sailboats and various water sports.

Southern comfort

South Reno’s ever-expanding options for dining turned up a couple of the most unique patios our city has to offer. Between the pines and the cinderblocks, there’s some sunspot dining for every appetite.

Café De Thai (7499 Longley Lane): With modern architecture at its finest, this restaurant’s delicious menu is paired nicely with its twist on design. The outdoor dining portion is blocked off with cinderblocks, uniquely enclosing you with a rock fountain and allowing random strips of light in through assorted cutouts.

Sierra Gold (680 S. Meadows Parkway.): The sunroom/patio is open year round. It’s got the extra perk of both a fire pit and heating lamps for the winter, but it’s able to fully come alive in warm weather. “It’s nice to prop your feet up on the fire pit and enjoy a beer in the breeze,” says customer Brett Turnbaugh.

The Lodge at Galena (17025 Mount Rose Highway.): Summertime means camping trips and adventures in nature, and at the Lodge, you can experience a similar feel when looking to dine outdoors. “We have a fabulous deck,” says the Lodge’s executive chef, Lindsay Ellinger. “You get to enjoy the evening sunset, and what’s better than hanging out in the middle of the pine trees in the Sierras?”

North by Northwest

When venturing to the Northwest, the patios may be a bit more modest in size, but the appealing atmosphere still abounds with both a longtime favorite and a newcomer for the summer season.

Buenos Grill (3892 Mayberry Drive): Picnic table benches, a porch setting, and hanging potted plants. Buenos Grill offers a quaint, neighborhood feel with its outdoor area, making it the prime location to run into an old friend while taking the kids out for a bite after the soccer game.

The Grape and The Grain (7665 Town Square Lane): Discreetly tucked away, this mini village center eatery’s outdoor area is perfect for evening dining. The glowing lights on the trees and neighboring buildings transport you to a resort town at Christmastime—even in the warm summer air. (For more on this restaurant, see page 20.) “When you’re sitting out there, you have amazing views of the Somersett Valley from all angles,” says bartender Meghan Wagonseller.