ZAP Bites: Patio Season, Anyone?


Sunny skies, cocktail in hand, great music and an abundance of top notch dishes, sounds like patio season in Chicago! As ridiculous as a certain Bravo show made it seem, there truly are limited days in this great city to enjoy outdoor dining, head to the beach or walk the streets without several layers. Because our office is located in the West Loop, we continuously have the opportunity to enjoy some of the city's best dining, and that includes new patios and rooftop establishments. There are so many great offerings right here in our hood, but we thought we'd share some of the team's favorite outdoor spots around the city.

Did we miss your favorite? Drop us a line in the comment section. This foodie office is always in pursuit of finding new spots to try!


David Zapata: NoMi – Park Hyatt Chicago. It is my wife's favorite place in the city for special occasions. We usually start with drinks and bites in the NoMi Garden. I start with the Lake Effect (awesome Rum drink), the NoMi Roll and some oysters. Then we usually go inside and have dinner overlooking Michigan Avenue.

Morgan Bellock: Big Star. Amazing patio space for a summer afternoon, features live concerts in the summer with local bands, and it's always busy so there's great people watching! Because it's chef driven, all the tacos are amazing, and for drinks, my choice is the Big Star Margarita -- delicious but very strong!

Annie Block: Piccolo Sogno. I have to dine here at least twice during the summer months. The food is great, but nothing beats the outdoor back patio. It’s beautiful when the trees are in full bloom and the ambiance really does let you forget you’re in the city and allow you to relax and enjoy a caprese salad and a bottle of wine!

Sophia Bly: Drumbar. It’s low key, intimate, typically has good music and is walking distance from my apartment. Plus, the drinks are very spirit focused.

Michael Corrigan: Sidetrack. You can’t beat the slushies, and the patio is the best place to park it early on a Sunday Funday for some prime people watching as the day goes on. It’s also the best place to get your night started on a hot summer evening.

Mary Doyle: Fountainhead. Neighborhood crowd with great energy, rooftop experience without the "trying too hard" vibe that most rooftop spots put out, excellent beer selection and TONS of veggie options on the menu. You have to try the Hummus & Veggie Wrap and the Sriracha Deviled Eggs.

Jenn Lake: NoMI Garden at Park Hyatt Chicago. Beautiful views of downtown, impeccable service and a distinctive menu featuring fresh local ingredients. If you're there, you have to try the Oysters and the Part and Parcel cocktail.

Alexis Lucente: Happy Village Bar Bier Garden. The backyard Bier Garden is an urban oasis- Koi fish pond included! Great beer selection with weekly specials; keep your expectations low and you'll for sure have a great time! You need to try a $1.50 Hamms for that classic American flavor that won't break the bank, and be sure you challenge a stranger to a game of beer pong! There's a table at the back of the bar.

Brigid Parr: Roots. My favorite patio in the city is Roots near Chicago and Damen. I’m OBSESSED with their “Build Your Own Salad,” and they have the best dressing selections. They also do mimosa bucket specials on weekends and bring out the champagne in mini bottles. Oh and the appetizers! I could go on for hours…

Stephanie Poquette: Homeslice. This is a recent love, but this place is just so great. There's AMPLE outdoor seating for parties small to large. It's tucked between the Brown Line Armitage and Fullterton stops in a shaded somewhat quiet corner of the street. Veghead or not, be sure to try one of the pizzas from the massive vegetarian selection and grab a local craft beer or try the uber delish Grapefruit Steigl Radler (low in alcohol content, but so high in yum factor).

Erin Thayer: RM Champagne Salon. It's the perfect location for drinks before and/or after dinner at any of the amazing restaurants on Randolph Street in Chicago’s West Loop. The string lights and rustic décor are both romantic for date nights with the husband and fun for a night out with the girls. The food is the kicker – amazing oysters and desserts – two of my favorite things. Did I mention the have an extensive list of champagnes?! Yum!