"If you don't have a patio in this business, you're losing out on customers," chef Rocco Whalen wisely explains. So, after seven years in the biz, Fahrenheit (2417 Professor Ave. 216.781.8858) finally unveiled alfresco seating last fall. Running the length of the Tremont restaurant, the 45-seat patio sports custom railings, white-linen tables and the same killer food found indoors.
"When customers walk out here for the first time, they say, 'Wow!,'" says Marlin Kaplan, in reference to the patio he just built at Luxe Kitchen (6605 Detroit Ave., 216.920.0600). Described as "urban Zen," the multi-level patio boasts an outdoor bar and lounge, 10-foot-tall cypress trees and canopies to block out UV death rays.
Zack Bruell has taken a good thing and made it even better. Always a treasure, the brick patio behind L'Albatros (11401 Bellflower Rd., 216.791.7880), formerly That Place on Bellflower, was ripped up, re-graded and re-laid by hand. The leafy retreat seats 40 at tables, chairs, sofas and love seats. An eight-seat granite-topped bar will be completed any day.
Standing out among the sea of East Fourth Street patios requires a novel approach. The folks at Greenhouse Tavern (2038 E. Fourth St., 216.393.4302) sidestepped convention by arranging long wooden tables so they all face out, theater-style. Now, diners can enjoy the show in the street along with the one on the plate.
One of the best features of the new Jekyll's Kitchen (17 River St., 440.893.0797) is the patio. Located a salmon's leap from the Chagrin Falls, the festive perch features a stacked-stone fireplace, alfresco bar and string lights to guide the way to good times.
Lockkeepers (8001 Rockside Rd., 216.524.9404) is wrapping up a total patio overhaul. A new outdoor lounge will offer swanky soft seating, oak-barrel cocktail tables and dramatic new lighting. Guests can kick back with a pitcher of house-made limoncello and enjoy views of the Cuyahoga River.
Not only does it have a new address, but Market Avenue Wine Bar (2526 Market Ave., 216.696.9463) boasts a whole new view. Cleveland's best wine bar now overlooks Great Lakes Brewing Co., rather than competing with it for sidewalk space. There is still no better place to spend a warm summer night.
Bistro on Lincoln Park (2391 W. 11th St., 216.862.2969) arrived in winter, so we never had an opportunity to enjoy the great sidewalk dining. The 25-seat patio overlooking Lincoln Park is situated near the restaurant's flowerbeds and herb gardens, offering deliriously enjoyable summer scents.