This week marked the return to patio dining season, even if the local weathermen are trying to put a temporary hold on it. One of our favorite things about spring and fall in Little Rock is enjoying lunch or after work drinks on some of the excellent patios around town.
We are a bit of a sucker for anything with a river view as you can tell. But please drop us a line in the comments about your favorite patio in town and we will use it to fill out spots 5-10. Images welcome.
1. Forty Two – Tucked away under the Clinton Presidential center, Forty Two‘s Patio is a great spot to enjoy a long lunch. You get a great view of the river and pedestrian bridge while feeling secluded thanks to the design of the surrounding landscape .
2. Brave New Restaurant – Brave New opened in 1991 but, due to the hidden location in an office building behind the former Alltel building, a lot of locals overlook it. What they offer though is one of our favorite lunch menus in town along with a second floor patio overlooking the river.
3. Cajun’s Wharf – Cajun’s has possibly the most famous patio on the list. Their “Big Swingin’ Deck” on the bar side can get a big crowded and crazy on certain nights. If you are into that, great. If not try to catch it on quiet nights, think earlier in the week. Their bar food could stand some attention, and the famous Play-De-Do is fantastic if you like kool-aid and Malibu rum. However it really is a nice patio with great views of the river, a consistent cool breeze, and even some shade when you need it.
4. Milford Track – Another of those “hidden in an office building” gems. Milford Track off Executive Center Drive brings an unexpected patio overlooking a small lake beside the building.
5. US Pizza (Hillcrest) – When US Pizza built their flagship location on Kavanaugh in Hillcrest, they designed the patio first. And it shows. It is not the most scenic view in the list, but it is an exceptional patio. On most spring nights you will find the patio area full with few people inside the restaurant. The pizza is nothing exceptional, however they do offer a decent variety beers served in a frosted mug.
And now for your additional choice, all great picks (in no particular order):
6. Ciao Baci – Great pick, easily the fan favorite. The house setup always makes us feel like we are sitting on a good friend’s back porch. There is everything right about that.
7. Capital Hotel/Capital Bar and Grill – While not technically a patio, the second floor balcony at Capital is one of our favorite places to sit on a cool afternoon as well. A little limited in space, and nearly impossible to talk the bar into bringing drinks and food up caused this one to be left off the original list.
8. Dizzy’s – We love Dizzy’s for reasons a paragraph can not explain. Dizzy’s certainly has an excellent patio, especially now that the construction from the across the street hotel has finished.
9. The Fold – What the Fold lacks in a stunning view they make up for with a nice open and airy layout. Even the inside during a nice spring day is wide open. When conditions are right the Fold recreates the feel of a California restaurant that I personally love.
10. Pizza Cafe, Maddie’s, and Buffalo Grill – Ok, so we cheated a bit here. All three restaurants are in the same general location in Riverdale and compete with each other on patio excellence. Maddie’s space is fairly limited and Buffalo Grill is under developed. All three though are highly popular and usually full on a nice day.