12 Favorite Places to Eat Outdoors in Greater Phoenix
At last! Blissfully cool mornings, evenings with a hint of chill and daytime temps that mean we can lunch on a shaded patio without swimming in sweat. This right here, this seasonal slice of heaven is why we endure traffic, tourists and summer.
Nikki Buchanan The House Old Town Brasserie
Here are 12 places to enjoy The Great Outdoors at its greatest. Although a few of them are spendy, most are easy on the wallet and at least three of them are kid-friendly.
Joseph Maddon El Zocalo
Named for Mexico City's iconic central plaza, this charming Mexican food restaurant, housed in Chandler's historic Monroe building, has become a gathering spot in its own right, and there's no doubt the pretty patio has a lot to do with it. Lushly landscaped with vines, trees and exotic flowers, it's a traditional Mexican courtyard, replete with fountains, murals and private nooks -- a good place to laze away the afternoon over margaritas or settle in for a romantic supper (everything from steak to street tacos) under the twinkly lights.
Design buffs love the 60s-era, futuristic look of the farm grill's butterfly roof and mid-century modern decor, retro-fitted onto the converted farmhouse in which owner Joe Johnston grew up. But for those of us who just want to eat upscale burgers, fries and shakes outdoors, this funky-cool burger stand, specializing in "common food done uncommonly well," is aces for its old school charm. Huge (and seemingly ancient) tamarisk trees skirt the edge of a grassy yard dotted with picnic tables, citrus trees and flowers, offering shade and endless opportunity for kids to be kids. Parked in the middle of Agritopia -- a 12-acre urban farm planted with fruit trees, lettuces, herbs and vegetables (all used in the farm grill's kitchen, by the way) -- Joe's brings our agrarian past and future together in such a sweet way.