Wichita has plenty of pretty outdoor patios, where diners compete for tables during that sweet spot between spring and summer when it’s late enough that it’s not too chilly but early enough that the flies aren’t yet swarming.
We’re in that sweet spot now, so you might be looking for a new place to take advantage of the season and grab a drink or a meal outside.
Over the past year, several new restaurants have opened with the addition of interesting outdoor spaces. The following list doesn’t include Wichita’s longtime favorite patios, including the spaces at Ya Ya’s Eurobistro, Newport Grill and The Brickyard. But it does offer some ideas for new, interesting and scenic places to try out.
Chicken N Pickle, 1240 N. Greenwich: This big new restaurant, bar and entertainment complex doesn’t have just a patio. It has patios. The biggest one is in the main courtyard covered with a bright green turf where people are welcome to play lawn games, swing hula hoops, lounge and soak up the sun. All around it are picnic tables and other tables and chairs where people are free to hang out, drink, dine or just be. There’s also a second story patio that looks out over it all.
Prost, 2721 E. Central: The new German restaurant that opened right before Thanksgiving in shipping container mall Revolutsia is festive but a bit tight inside. But when the warm weather comes, suddenly there’s room for many more stein hoisters and boot chuggers on a big second story patio that offers views of Revolutsia’s own cozy courtyard and fire pit. It’s designed to feel like a real German “biergarten,” and the owners have added a big fan that keeps things cool and an outdoor bar.
Nortons Brewing Company, 125 N. St. Francis: A year ago, this new brewery opened up its big beer garden, a unique space unlike any other in Wichita. It’s just off the dining room and features lots of picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, a circular structure fitted with six facing porch swings, a grassy knoll and a big stage where local, regional and national acts frequently entertain the big crowds gathered. There’s lots of whimsical decor, a window to serve beer from inside, and you can bring your dog.
Vora Restaurant European, 3252 E Douglas: There aren’t many Douglas-facing patios in the Douglas Design District, partially because of tight sidewalks and partially because Douglas is a noisy, busy street. But the patio that just opened this season at Vora, the restaurant brothers Brad and Brent Steven launched earlier this year, is the exception. The restaurant, which is on the ground floor of the just-built Uptown Landing, has a spacious, gated patio that faces the scenic and historic Hillcrest building across the street. It might not be the quietest patio in town, but people can enjoy a pizza and a glass of wine and imagine they’re in the big city.
PourHouse ICT, 711 E. Douglas: This new downtown brewery, set up in the back of an old train station, has a gated off, brick-lined patio that looks out onto the newly renovated Union Station plaza. There are picnic benches, tables and chairs and corn hole games, and it’s a prime place for Old Town people watching.
86 Cold Press, 600 E. Douglas: A year ago, Austin Dugan moved his cold-press juice bar and cafe a few doors down to a big, new space on Douglas, and when he did, he made a charming discovery. His new spot has access to a super skinny six-foot-wide, 40-foot-long alley way that’s bordered by two big walls. He’s been jazzing up the space with turf, plants, tables and chairs, and his customers love it because it allows them to enjoy the outside air with protection from the wind. In the summer, it stays shady, and the bricks surrounding it keep it cool. Watch this summer for live music and patio games to fill the space.
Meddys, 120 S. Washington: The newest Meddys restaurant opened in December, so people have only recently been able to start enjoying its gated front patio, made cozy by the presence of a double-sided fire place, cushioned chairs and tables, a canopy of glowing lights and a big door that can be retracted to let the outside in. Owner Alex Harb plans to start offering live music on the patio this summer.
6S Steakhouse, 6200 W. 21st St. North: It was about a year ago that this fancy west side steakhouse opened its patio, which matches the interior in the elegance department. It’s off the back of the building and offers views of a small residential lake. The patio is covered, so it’s extra shady, and a line of tall chairs scooted up against a bar face directly onto the water.