Editor’s Note: Since this article was published in July 2020, Roca Bar North and Read St. BBQ have closed. Emge’s Deli, Pizza, and Ice Cream has moved to 3848 N. First Ave. Acropolis Restaurant and Catering has closed at 501 N. Green River Road and reopened as Riverwalk Restaurant and Catering at 6 Walnut St. The former owners of Read St. BBQ have rebranded Walton’s International Comfort Food as Walton’s Smokehouse and Southern Kitchen. Tiki Time Bar and Grill has moved to 524 Main St. into what was Kevin’s Backstage Bar and Grill.
Smitty’s Italian Steakhouse and Gerst Haus
When you dine on Smitty’s Italian Steakhouse’s patio, dining room manager Shannon Slygh says you feel like you’re in a different place.
“It’s very shaded,” she says. “It sets off the street a little bit to quiet down the road noise. It’s just relaxing out there.”
The Franklin Street mainstay of almost 20 years didn’t always have a patio. When Smitty’s first opened, it was a bar for several years before the restaurant portion was introduced and the patio added. But having outdoor seating was always the vision for owners and brothers Jim and Jerry Chandler. Trees surrounding the side patio offer shade and privacy, while the fountain in the center makes for a soothing and picturesque alfresco meal. Slygh recommends the chicken or fish piccata — lemony and fresh.
Across the street, The Chandlers also own Gerst Haus, with its own brick patio nestled alongside the ivy-covered building. While Gerst Haus sticks to its German roots in its menu year-round, during warmer months, general manager Paul Ankenbrand says they occasionally offer lighter dishes, like chicken salad on a stuffed tomato with cottage cheese. Of course, you can never go wrong sipping a fishbowl of one of the many beers on tap out on the sunny patio while watching the hustle and bustle of Franklin Street.
“We’ve been down here for so long, but Franklin Street is such a nice area anyway,” says Slygh. “It’s nice to be a part of that.”
With a name like The Rooftop, having rooftop seating was always part of owner Richie Patel’s vision for his restaurant and bar in Downtown Evansville. Opening at the end of 2017, he didn’t wait long to expand the patio. Last summer, the rooftop deck was expanded to create more seating on the second story and to add covered patio seating below.
This summer, the additions have continued with a small stage built on the rooftop for musicians and DJs.
“We do live music every Friday and Saturday,” says General Manager River Priest. “We also do karaoke and have a DJ come in on Tuesdays and a DJ come in on Thursdays. We definitely saw a difference between not having live music and having it.”
With a large menu of salads, burgers, chicken sandwiches, pizzas, breakfast, and brunch; live entertainment throughout the week; and outdoor seating rain or shine, The Rooftop has options for everyone. Especially coming out of restrictions due to COVID-19, having a patio space that can seat around 200 people gave The Rooftop a leg up when welcoming customers back to its restaurant.
“I think people are ready to be out,” says Priest. “A lot of people are trying to push toward outdoor seating, and it’s cool we already had that set up to begin with.”
112 N.W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Nestled in the small artistic community of New Harmony, Indiana, the Red Geranium has been a part of the region’s dining scene since 1964. While the rustic interior continues to be a draw for diners, during the warmer months, the outdoor patio has a lure all its own. With bricks adorning the patio and a fountain paying homage to geologist David Dale Owen, the quaint outdoor dining area provides a perfect romantic spot.
“It’s a good place for people to relax,” says restaurant manager Tara Knight. “It has beautiful scenery and people enjoy the nature and quietness as well.”
Along with the scenery and music every Friday night, Red Geranium adds to the outdoor dining experience with dishes that utilize fresh ingredients and seasonal menus. For Chef Janice Sandoval, summer is all about giving guests a dynamic of hot and cold.
“I love bright colors and bright flavors,” she says. “Summer is a great time for that.”
For a cool appetizer, try the burrata bruschetta — cold, creamy burrata cheese topped with an heirloom tomato jam and served with hot and crispy slices of baguette — or taste Red Geranium’s cold salads — chicken, tuna, and egg — with fried and toasted pita bread. If you happen to be in town for brunch, don’t miss out on the banana bread waffle. Warm banana bread waffles topped with a coffee ganache and fresh slices of bananas are sure to start your day off right.
520 North St., New Harmony, IN
Fiesta Acapulco Newburgh
During the stay-at-home orders earlier this year, many businesses were forced to shut their doors. But Fiesta Acapulco Newburgh owners Melvin and Blanca Ortez stayed busy. The restaurant continued providing food to go, but also used the time to complete major renovations to the interior and exterior of the Mexican restaurant.
“We had a lot going on during the months we were closed for dine in,” says Melvin. “We took advantage of that. We never slowed down, thankfully.”
While a lot of work was done inside, like adding stone accents throughout the restaurant, major renovations also were completed outside. The covered patio was expanded to offer more outdoor seating, all overlooking the pond teeming with fish, ducks, and other wildlife, which can be enjoyed up close from the deck leading from the patio onto the pond.
Each season before opening the patio, Blanca freshens up the plants and landscaping outside to add a green, tropical feel. This year, though, even more color is coming to the restaurant. Fiesta Acapulco will welcome two baby macaws to a new glass and temperature-controlled enclosure added to the patio during the renovations, where guests will get to watch them grow and play while enjoying their favorite Mexican dishes.
“It gives us that opportunity to have something not all restaurants have,” says Melvin. “It’s just an enjoyable part of the restaurant many people get to use. It’s like a mini vacation atmosphere you feel when you’re out on the patio.”
8480 High Pointe Drive, Newburgh, IN
Farmer and Frenchman Winery
Arriving at the picturesque setting of the Farmer and Frenchman located south of Henderson, Kentucky, you may wonder for a moment if you’ve stumbled onto a European vineyard. With a large deck overlooking the vineyard and farmlands, guests can have a truly unique dining experience at the winery.
“The view is what drew us here,” says Co-Owner Katy Groves-Mussat. She and her husband Hubert Mussat started the winery and restaurant on her family’s farm four years ago. “The outdoor dining has always been a big draw. It’s wide open and beautiful.”
Farmer and Frenchman has expanded its outdoor seating as guidelines have changed with COVID-19. A covered walkway leading out to a barn event space now contains distanced tables for customers to sit, sip wine, and eat as they look over the vineyard. The couple also opened up the barn for more seating or shelter from the weather if needed.
As more guests begin to dine out again, Katy, Hubert, and their staff are introducing new flavors and dishes. The antipasto salad combines mixed greens, red pepper, tomato, fresh mozzarella, country ham cured in house, red onion, and a Dijon lemon dressing. The new menu also brings in a French Quarter-inspired section, including the chicken chasseur. This roasted chicken dish features a cognac demi-glace tarragon sauce, roasted vegetables, and edible flowers from the restaurant’s own garden.
12522 U.S. Highway 41 S., Robards, KY
Roca Bar North
Pizza, music, and warm summer nights. It’s a combination that works perfectly at Roca Bar North. The five months of summer see the large patio space next to the restaurant filled to capacity as each Friday and Saturday night welcomes in bands from all over the Tri-State. Even if there isn’t a band playing, the space is equipped with outdoor TVs and a large central firepit to create a fun outdoor dining experience.
Steve Hammer, co-owner of Roca Bar North with his wife Ashley and business partners Randy and Andee Sheffer, says the big draw of the space is not only its size, but catering to the demographic of northern Vanderburgh County and southern Gibson County.
“We don’t have a cover charge, and everyone is welcome,” says Hammer. “I always say when I introduce the bands, we have middle-age people start times of 7 or 8 p.m. I think all those aspects make it popular.”
The food fare at Roca Bar North is a big draw for patrons as well. Slices of the Round the World pizza (thin crust topped with beef, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green pepper, onions, and tomatoes) are paired perfectly with the popular and “famous” Roca Bar Italian Salad. Packed with crisp lettuce, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend, ham, pepperoni, hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, green and black olives, and finished with the original Roca Bar Italian dressing, the salad still is a crowd pleaser.
Start your night off with an order of the Dubl R onion rings — hand-battered rings using the Evansville Dublr R Drive-In recipe and served with Boom Boom sauce.
12301 U.S. Highway 41
Raise a Glass
Patio seating isn’t always about the food. Here is a list of local hangouts to get a cup of your favorite brew in Evansville.
Myriad Brewing Company
101 S.E. First St., 812-402-1515
Located at the back of the former McCurdy Hotel building Downtown, Myriad’s shaded patio is perfect for summer afternoons sipping on some cool brews.
2404 Lynch Road, 812-759-8229, carsonsbrewery.com
This patio area is both human and pet friendly, open seven days a week, and offers plenty of tables and a high bar to sit with friends and taste one of Carson’s 21 beers on tap.
1114 Parrett St.,
A funky cocktail tastes divine when you take in Haynie’s Corner Arts District at Mo’s House. The patio area offers a fun atmosphere with plenty of room for cornhole and other games.
River City Coffee + Goods
223 Main St., 812-550-1695, rivercityevv.com
Sometimes a good coffee hits the spot. And at River City Coffee + Goods, you can enjoy your delicious drink out front to watch Main Street or out back in the cozy patio space.
Acropolis Restaurant and Catering
501 N. Green River Road
With a new tent added to the restaurant’s parking lot, Acropolis, known for its Greek and American classics, now offers even more dining options.
7700 Eagle Crest Blvd.
With a large menu of gastropub favorites, Bar Louie adds a relaxed ambiance with its outdoor patio, including a stone firepit.
Bru Burger »
222 Sycamore St., 812-302-3005, bruburgerbar.com
Bru Burger’s covered patio provides a shady spot to dine on the restaurant’s gourmet burgers, salads, and other dishes.
17 W. Jennings St., Newburgh, IN, 812-842-2200, visitarazu.com
The river views and Middle Eastern fusion flavors will transport guests dining on Café Arazu’s patio and deck.
607 N. Main St., 812-428-3004, dilegges.com
Italians know alfresco, and DiLegge’s certainly knows Italian. Your favorites will taste even better while dining on DiLegge’s picturesque garden patio.
943 N. Park Drive, 812-402-6500
Your favorite Mexican dishes will taste more authentic while out on the patio during a warm and sunny day.
Hornet’s Nest Restaurant and Bar »
11845 Petersburg Road, 812-867-236
Combine the comforts of patio dining with your comfort food favorites at Hornet’s Nest Restaurant and Bar in McCutchanville.
KC’s Marina Pointe
1801 Waterworks Road, 812-550-1050, kcmarinapointe.com
As one of Evansville’s only riverfront restaurants, KC’s Marina Pointe offers seasonal dinner and drinks with a view.
Knob Hill Tavern
1016 State Route 662 W., Newburgh, IN
Grab a fishbowl and fiddlers on Knob Hill’s expansive covered patio for a refreshing alfresco meal.
Mister B’s Pizza and Wings
1340 Hirschland Road, 812-402-2090, misterbspizza.com
Not only can the beloved Henderson, Kentucky, joint be found in Evansville now, but its pizza and wings can be enjoyed on the covered outdoor patio.
The New Frontier Restaurant and Bar
12945 Highway 57, 812-867-6786, newfrontierbar.com
Dine on homestyle favorites with a side of live music on The New Frontier Restaurant and Bar’s patio, located in Daylight, Indiana, near the airport.
6701 Nisbet Road, Haubstadt, IN,
A frosty fishbowl at Nisbet Inn will stand up to the summer heat while enjoying homestyle favorites on the outdoor patio.
111 S. Green River Road, Ste. E,
Pangea’s patio seating extends
the restaurant’s global soul food vision to the outdoors.
Pie Pan Restaurant & Bakery
905 N. Park Drive, 812-425-2261, piepanevv.com
From breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, Pie Pan has you covered whether you’re dining inside or out.
Prime Time Pub and Grill
8177 Bell Oaks Drive, Newburgh, IN,
It is the prime time to enjoy a burger or prime rib with a craft beer on Prime Time’s patio.
Read St. BBQ
421 Read St., 812-303-6397
Read St. BBQ’s smoked meats and fixings paired with the front porch-style patio is the perfect combination for a homestyle meal.
R’z Café »
104 N. Main St., Fort Branch, IN, 812-615-0039, rzcafeandcatering.com
Whether you’re ready for lunch, dinner, or dessert, it all can be enjoyed alfresco at R’z Café, just a 25-minute drive to Gibson County.
1113 Parrett St., 812-402-2230
Make your date night even more romantic under the lights of Sauced’s outdoor patio.
1112 Parrett St., 812-401-3333
Schymik’s Kitchen’s shareable plates and tapas-style dishes are the perfect front porch patio bites.
St. Joe Inn
9515 Saint Wendel Road, 812-963-9310
Take advantage of everything you love about tavern dining on St. Joe Inn’s outdoor deck.
Tiki Time Bar and Grill
1801 Waterworks Road, 812-425-1912, tikitimeevansville.com
The seasonal Tiki Time Bar and Grill is quintessential outdoor dining with its riverfront views.
The Tin Fish
707 State St., Newburgh, IN,
With Tin Fish’s coastal seafood, you won’t even miss the surf and sand while dining on the covered patio at the establishment’s new Newburgh location.
Walton’s International Comfort Food
956 Parrett St., 812-467-4255, waltonscomfortfood.com
Walton’s brings its quirky style to the large outdoor patio in the heart of the Haynie’s Corner Arts District.
Main Street has become quite the bustling spot in Evansville. If you are Downtown and want to grab a bite to eat outside, consider one of these spots.
305 Main St., 812-428-6666, angelosevansville.com
Get a taste of Angelo’s old-school Italian cuisine under the soft lights that adorn the restaurant’s outdoor patio area.
Comfort by the Cross-Eyed Cricket
230 Main St., 812-909-3742, comfortevv.com
Order some of Comfort’s homestyle dishes to enjoy on its first-floor patio space or head upstairs to enjoy a glass of wine on the balcony.
Emge’s Deli, Pizza, and Ice Cream
206 Main St., 812-422-3026
Whether you’re craving a deli classic, a cone of soft-serve ice cream, or a hot pizza, you can order all at Emge’s Deli before finding the perfect spot to dine with their outdoor seating.
Kevin’s Backstage Bar and Grill
524 Main St., 812-424-5020, kevinsbackstage.com
Dig into some burgers or tacos, order an ice-cold drink, and take in the sounds of local bands as you sit at the outdoor tables at Kevin’s Backstage Bar and Grill.
Milano’s Italian Cuisine
500 Main St., 812-484-2222
Take in Main Street while you enjoy a slice of pizza during lunch or grab a plate of the house special pasta dishes on Milano’s shaded patio area.
Nothing says outdoor dining more than food trucks! Get your fix of tasty meals on wheels with these local trucks.
Bruce Li Food Truck »
Chef Bruce Li serves Korean stone bowl rice and Japanese hibachi grill meals, along with spring rolls, dumplings, and teriyaki and Yummy Yummy chicken dishes.
This truck features made-to-order gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, along with seasonal soups, polish sausage, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and cheesecake.
Tacoholics in Henderson, Kentucky, serves up their traditional Mexican offerings from this double-decker
Customers can choose from well-known Chinese dishes such as empress and General Tso chicken and Szechwan beef or a variety of taco and burrito choices with an Asian twist.
Food Truck Crazy Daisy’s has a selection of sandwiches ranging from steak, burgers, and more as well as walking tacos and a variety of nacho dishes.
Dawgs on the Ohio
A cart dishing up all-beef large and standard dogs and polish and smoke sausages with lots of topping choices. Or order one of the custom dogs to enjoy in Newburgh, Indiana.
Southern favorites adorn this food truck’s menu, including fried fish and chicken dishes, loaded fries, fish tacos, and more.
The Duffy Shuffle »
Chicken, chicken, chicken! The Duffy Shuffle offers up eight different types of chicken tacos along with loaded fried chicken stacks and different sides.
Jayson Munoz Caters
A mobile catering truck that also serves up taco and bento boxes at various local food truck hot spots.
Miller’s takes its barbecue on the road with its truck, serving up pulled pork, smoked chicken breast, kielbasa, prime brisket, and more.
Papa T’s Tamales,
Well-known throughout Evansville, Papa T’s menu features all-beef tamales and nachos with a choice of toppings.
Pappa Bear’s Catering
Showcasing meats from Dewig’s, this truck serves up beef, pork, and chicken dishes, including tasty pork belly bites.
If wood-fired pizza is your treat, then the double-decker bus of Pizza Revolution has selections for you, including margherita and Fig-n-Pig.
River City Dawgs
This cart gets around town, serving all-beef hot dogs in steamed buns with lots of options for toppings.
With a rock music theme, this truck has gourmet brisket burgers, grilled chicken, and black bean burgers.
A Midwest-Mex food truck, Taco Bar dishes out Mexican cuisine including a variety of tacos, burritos, chalupa sliders, and larger dishes.
Uncle Ted’s Just Dang Good Food
You name it, Uncle Ted’s out of Mount Vernon, Indiana, serves it up — burgers, sausage, grilled ham and cheese, Philly cheesesteaks, chicken, patty melts, strombolis, and more.
Up in Smoke BBQ
Out of Henderson, Kentucky, this truck has your classic barbecue favorites — smoked chicken, pulled pork, burgers, brats, pork chops, and more with beans, potato salad, and coleslaw sides.