The best places around KC to dine al fresco and while away lazy summer days and evenings
It may be a little out of the way for most Kansas Citians, but Vivilore in Independence is well worth the trip. Its intimate courtyard patio is lush with potted plants and landscaping, lending the atmosphere of a genteel country garden. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday and offers an inventive menu of New American cuisine created by Vivilore chef-owner Whit Ross, including a grilled beef panzanella salad, chorizo and portobello flatbread, and Pacific Coast wild salmon with apricot-honey glaze and sweet potato hash.
Our pick for summer is the peel-and-eat shrimp served every Wednesday evening—combined with the relaxing setting, you’ll feel like you’re on vacation in a charming coastal town. Arrive early and spend some time looking through the antiques and fine art sold inside in Vivilore’s retail space.
Chef-owner Emmanuel Langlade’s menu of classic French cuisine makes Aixois Bistro a year-round destination for local bons viveurs. But in fine weather, the idea of enjoying a slice of the daily quiche and a glass of wine (or two—who’s counting?) at the Brookside staple becomes even more enticing, thanks to its refined outdoor seating.
Set on the corner of the Crestwood Shops, the patio at Aixois looks out over a perfectly manicured lawn where you may sometimes catch an impromptu game of boules being played. The restaurant’s position on the Trolley Trail makes it a popular place for local cyclists to stop in to refresh with a Lillet on ice before pedaling back home.
Celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez elevated Mexican cuisine in the area when he opened his sleek restaurant in Leawood’s Park Place in 2012. Last winter, Mestizo took things to a new level (literally) when it opened its rooftop patio. Now that the warmer weather is here, the space is really coming alive. If your taste buds favor Latin flavor, there’s no better place in town to chill out on a hot summer night. Live bands entertain patio guests most Friday and Saturday evenings from 8 p.m. to midnight. Stop in for late happy hour starting nightly at 10 p.m. to share mouthwatering appetizers and margaritas while you enjoy the music.
Its location in the Crossroads Arts District puts The Jacobson’s patio tables in high demand, particularly on First Fridays when gallery crawlers can take a break and have a bite to eat overlooked by a sculpture designed by local metal artist Stretch. Stop by during the restaurant’s “Mingle Hour” service from 3-6 p.m. on weeknights to share specials such as truffle fries, braised “pig wings” and salmon crostini with friends.
Gram & Dun
Country Club Plaza has long been thought of as the jewel in the crown of Kansas City, and the enviable size and location of Gram & Dun’s patio make it a gem. The corner lot offers a fantastic vantage point for both people watching and taking in the Spanish-style architecture. It’s a great place to see and be seen anytime, but it seems especially ideal for lounging on during the restaurant’s weekend brunch service—when you can stay and revel in the prime position a little longer. Kick back with a Mimosa, Bloody Mary or the signature “Brunch Punch” and something from G&D’s menu of American cusine with a strong Southern accent.
The long list of awards and accolades Colby and Megan Garrelts, the chef-owners of Rye (and Bluestem in Westport), have received over the years is reason enough to reserve a table at their Mission Farms restaurant—and its patio’s out-of-the-way position overlooking the development’s lawns and lake is why you’ll want to request one outside on a fine summer evening.