Summer is finally here and restaurants are dusting off their outdoor tables and chairs. After a winter that seemed to never end and a spring that was gone in a blink of an eye, we’re ready to enjoy dining in the warm sunlight or under the moon and stars. A lunch with co-workers turns into crowd watching on Franklin Street or Main Street. Date night ends with a view of the sun setting over the Ohio River from Downtown Evansville or Newburgh, Indiana. Or perhaps a couple of friends enjoy happy hour with the West Side as their backdrop for the evening. The Tri-State is bursting with energy and beautiful scenery this time of year and we found some of our favorite places that let diners take it all in while enjoying the outdoors.
Roca Bar North
If there is a larger or more nicely constructed dining and entertainment patio in Evansville than offered at Roca Bar North, we’ve not yet been there. In summer months, local musicians play to crowds of up to 200 people enjoying thin crust pizza, Italian salad, and beverages.
12301 U.S. Highway 41-N., 812-868-8898
Fight the crowds at this popular North Side tavern — in Earle, Indiana — by sitting on the front deck. Relax under the glow of the neon “Beer and Eats” sign at night while enjoying favorites like prime rib or fried chicken. Or dine in the shade of a table’s umbrella on a daily lunch special during the day. The all you can eat salad bar is an easy outdoor choice.
11845 Petersburg Road, 812-867-2386
Since 1998, Edgewater Grille in Newburgh, Indiana, has offered upscale casual food along the Ohio River. Take in one of the best views of the scenic Ohio River the Tri-State has to offer while dining on upscale casual food options at the Edgewater Grille. Several outside seating areas are available for customers to enjoy wood-fired pizzas, specialty bread, and fresh seafood with Caribbean, Italian, and Middle Eastern influences.
1 E. Water St., Newburgh, IN, 812-858-2443
In cooler months, our favorite table at Madeleine’s Fusion Restaurant is the round table in the window looking out to Second Street. In the summer, we give that up for outside dining on the restaurant’s flower-filled patio. The fusion menu changes monthly; try the lobster salad for a first course, if offered.
423 S.E. Second St., 812-491-8611
Ri Ra Irish Pub
It’s time you had a view of Downtown Evansville and the riverfront. Overlook the Ohio River from Ri Ra Irish Pub while dining alfresco on its upper level patio. With Irish classics like fish and chips and Guinness beer, Ri Ra gives diners a taste of both Downtown Evansville and Ireland.
701 N.W. Riverside Drive, 812-426-0000
Knob Hill Tavern
“The Knob’s” famous fiddlers — that’s Hoosier-speak for fried catfish — reel in several hundred fans each year. Make sure you get yours at this storied hot spot in Newburgh, Indiana. The restaurant’s signature hot fiddlers served with or without coleslaw (plus an ice cold beer fishbowl) is even tastier on Knob Hill Tavern’s partially covered terrace. Choose a table in the shade or with some sunshine, and an outdoor bar means never having to wait for a refill on the tavern’s rotating choices of craft beer.
1016 State Route 662 W., Newburgh, IN, 812-853-9550
Eclipse Spanish Tapas Bar and Restaurant
Spanish cuisine is created to be enjoyed outside. After all, its staple, tapas, means “to cover.” (Traditionally bread was placed atop a beverage to protect it from insects.) In Downtown Evansville, enjoy an intimate Spanish dining experience, complete with Sangria, at Eclipse Spanish Tapas Bar and Restaurant.
113 S.E. Fourth St., 812-463-6040
Angelo’s Italian Restaurant
Inside, Angelo’s beckons diners with traditional Italian cuisine, and at lunch time, pizza by the slice. To enjoy the sights of Main Street — maybe before an event at the Ford Center — step outside to Angelo’s patio and order the super fresh Chicken Cacciatore and a glass of Chianti.
305 Main St., 812-428-6666
The Midwestern backdrop of the Ohio River blends seamlessly with the fusion of mainly Middle Eastern cuisine at this Newburgh, Indiana, gem. Winner of Evansville Living’s Best Place for Alfresco Dining, 2013, it’s no wonder the large patio fills up fast on sunny afternoons and warm evenings.
17 W. Jennings St., Newburgh, IN, 812-842-2200
There’s more than one way to enjoy a brain sandwich at this family-owned, tavern-style restaurant on the West Side famous for its unusual eats. The concrete tables on the front patio allow customers to enjoy food while looking out onto the busy intersection of Harmony Way and W. Maryland Street. Lunch and dinner specials offering more traditional culinary fare are offered Monday through Friday.
1100 Harmony Way, 812-422-1757
Cheeseburger in Paradise
Jimmy Buffet’s iconic song comes to life at Cheeseburger in Paradise. Who doesn’t enjoy a laid back beach party, even if it’s close to the Lloyd Expressway? Garage-like doors open when the weather is nice for socializing and enjoying food outside. Happy Hour, burgers, Calypso Chicken Salad, live music, and much more await.
8301 Eagle Crest Drive, 812-475-1074
Smitty’s Italian Restaurant and Steakhouse
Enjoying the way Italians like to eat — alfresco — is easy with Smitty’s two outdoor eating options. The private, stone floor patio on the restaurant’s side offers a fountain for ambiance, while front sidewalk seating comes with a view of bustling Franklin Street.
2109 W. Franklin St., 812-423-6280
Looking for a fun and casual atmosphere after a long day? Catch up with friends and family over drinks and traditional American food in Bar Louie’s outdoor dining area. Diners have a choice to sit under an awning section or in the open-air section to enjoy the sun or stars. To get completely in the spirit, order the “90 Miles from Florida” martini.
7700 Eagle Crest Blvd., 812-476-7069