The pandemic unfortunately put the kibosh on many leisure activities this year, like dining out and enjoying live music. However, as the world slowly inches back toward toward pre-pandemic life, many residents feel safe dining out on outdoor patios.
With the milder weather of fall officially here, it’s the perfect time to present our favorite patios in Plano. Under our criteria, an outdoor dining space on our list of “bests” must add more ambiance than just a table or two on a sidewalk facing a busy street or parking lot. Here are those that stand out among the rest.
(Note: Many of these photos were taken pre-COVID and pre-social distancing.)
The Boardwalk at Granite Park
Adjacent to the restaurants along The Boardwalk at Granite Park is a picturesque pond and fountain. At night, the area is perfect for a stroll thanks to overhead lighting. Dining options are plentiful here – eight to be exact – with something for everyone. Chip’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers’ happy hour is 3-7 p.m. weekdays with $3-$4 beers and $5-$7 wines plus appetizers like fried pickles and wings. Tex-Mex favorite Blue Mesa Grill has happy hour from 3-6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday with $5 house wines, large margaritas and well drinks plus $1 off draft beer. Union Bear Brewing Co’s happy hour is 3-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, or try their $50 burger box, which includes four burgers and fries.
Box Garden at Legacy Hall
The popular outdoor Box Garden returns to the forefront with events like the third annual Oktoberfeast, movie showings and live music from local acts. Happy hour is weekdays from 3-6 p.m. and includes $4 domestic and Unlawful Assembly beer, $5 house wines and margaritas, and $6 frosé and select spirits. With more than 20 different food stalls, there is truly something to satisfy every culinary craving at Legacy Hall, no matter how unique.
The Fillmore Pub
A popular fixture in historic Downtown Plano, The Fillmore Pub offers various beers and specialty drinks like their Classic Negroni. Check out $8 lunch specials from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays while their weekend Pub Brunch features show-stoppers like Kahlua French Toast. The Fillmore’s patio does face bustling 15th Street (a no-no on our list of “bests”), but the great people watching and scenic view of McCall Plaza, especially once live music returns, make this patio visit-worthy.
At this central Plano restaurant, order your seafood broiled, fried, grilled or steamed. Current specials include half off to-go beers and margaritas every day, and Takeout Tuesdays where customers purchasing any entrée get a second free. Flying Fish’s patio backs up to a natural creek, which helps establish a laid-back Gulf Coast vibe reminiscent of what one might experience in Biloxi or Gulf Shores.
Hub Streat’s patio scores beaucoup points for several reasons. It’s fully enclosed, dog-friendly and has several large palm trees to create a fun atmosphere. Happy hour is Wednesday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close and includes $3-$4 beer, $3 wells, $5 glasses of wine and half-off appetizers. On Wednesdays, traditional wings are $1 each while Thursday is Ladies’ Night.
Katy Trail Icehouse Outpost
The Outpost’s Austin-style beer garden is one of Plano’s best patios due to its festive atmosphere. Katy Trail Icehouse Outpost is also canine-friendly. Their menu impeccably delivers bar standards like beer brats and burgers, but their Dark Beer Venison Chili is another must-try.
This North Plano spot has a great dogs-welcome patio, expansive menu and dizzying array of beverages. Lazy Dog offers lunch specials daily until 4 p.m. and weekend brunch from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., featuring a mimosa flight and a breakfast burger. Those on the go should try a $10 TV Dinner, a frozen entree including fish and chips to reheat and enjoy at home.
Love and War in Texas
This mecca for Texas country music is again doing what it does best: offering great live music on its Hill Country-esque patio while at reduced capacity. Love and War’s vast drink and food menu, where dishes are grouped by the various regions of Texas, also makes it perfect for a quick meal, a night out or venue to see the Cowboys or your favorite college team hit the gridiron.
Thanks to an outstanding view of soothing fountains, Mexican Sugar’s patio ranks numero uno at The Shops at Legacy. This is a stellar venue for food and drink and soaking in the carefree Latin vibe. Happy hour is 3-6 p.m. weekdays and features $5 drinks, or bebidas for you bilingual folks.
Not only does this upscale French-inspired steakhouse deliver high-quality steaks like the prime filet mignon and stellar appetizers like crab cakes, but Mignon’s patio delivers a scenic view of a small lake and fountain. Their happy hour is suspended until further notice due to COVID-19. However, Mignon Plano does still offer Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sharing a great view of the Legacy West fountains with neighboring restaurants Mesero and Tommy Bahama – which makes this a great spot for unparalleled people-watching – North Italia has happy hour 3-6 p.m. weekdays with $5 beers, red and white wines plus sangria, and discounted dishes like meatballs and pizza. On Sundays, get half off select bottles of wine and enjoy a weekend brunch featuring Glazed Italian Donut French Toast.
Known for its amazing burgers like the Brad Sham, named for the legendary Cowboys radio broadcaster, with smoked bacon and fried onions, Rodeo Goat, which is two doors down from Flying Fish at Heritage Creekside in central Plano, also brings its “A game” to drinks. Check out happy hour 4-7 p.m. weekdays for $1 off drafts and wine, $2.50 domestics and $3.50 wells. Rodeo Goat once had a burger named for a former Dallas mayor on its menu, so how about adding one for current Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere?
Due to the pandemic, Terra Mediterranean has unfortunately suspended its outstanding lunch buffet. However, the breathtaking view of the water features and greenspace at The District at Willow Bend remain, as does their outstanding kitchen fare, a full menu including Mediterranean standards like falafel, gyros and kabobs. Terra’s drink menu includes a mojito and sangria plus a wide selection of beer and wine.
Turkish Café and Lounge
How does a vast wooden deck with a little international flair sound? Try happy hour at Turkish Café and Lounge every weekday from 4-7 p.m. when specials include half-price appetizers, $4 beers and well drinks, $5 house wines and $6 frozen margaritas. Or try one of their lunch specials between 11 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays, when sandwiches are $10.95 and platters $13.99, which include three cold appetizers, entrée, soup or salad.
Home to the 32 Degrees Bar, Urban Crust’s third-floor patio is really a hip, open-air rooftop dining area. Happy hour is weekdays from 4-7 p.m. with $1 off appetizers, house wines, draft beers, wells, frozen drinks and frozen taps. Hear live acoustic music Thursdays or a DJ spin Top 40 hits on Fridays and Saturdays. Their wood-fired pizza offerings include the Shea’s Eastside, which features fire-roasted chicken and caramelized onions.
Once you’ve made your way through our favorite Plano patios above, swing by any of the below restaurants, all of which have a patio worth checking out.
II Brothers at Preston Creek Shopping Center
Bavarian Grill in Ruisseau Village
Bellagreen at Preston Towne Crossing
Casa Mama in the Village at Los Rios
CRÚ Food and Wine Bar at The Shops at Legacy
Haywire at Legacy West
The Holy Grail Pub in Headquarters Village
Mexican Bar Co. at The District at The Shops at Willow Bend
Mi Cocina at Lakeside Market
Mi Dia from Scratch at West Plano Village
Senor Locos Tex-Mex in Woodside Village