Guys, it’s summer, which means it is the time to eat al fresco. But don’t just settle for any old outdoor dining experience. We have rounded up the 10 best (and most unique) places you can eat outside in Illinois.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery
So this one's not a restaurant, at least not most of the time. They raise goats and sell goat milk products. But a few times a year, they host a phenomenal farm to table dining experience. 4410 N Lincoln Ave, Champaign, IL 61822.
2. Port of Blarney
Located in awesome Chain O'Lakes, Port of Blarney is accessible by shuttle boat. From there, you enjoy your time on their dog-friendly, tiki-themed bar and restaurant. 27843 W Grass Lake Rd, Antioch, IL 60002.
This place has a great scenic backdrop as it is located right at the Anderson Japanese Gardens. This is a great restaurant on its own, though, with a great breakfast and fresh, organic ingredients. 318 Spring Creek Rd, Rockford, IL 61107.
4. Kief's Reef
Why eat pizza any old place when you can eat it on a deck overlooking the water? They also have a great fish fry. 3505 S Wright Rd, McHenry, IL 60050.
5. The Waterfront Cafe
This is a lovely little cafe located right off of Lake Michigan. You can bring your dog, and they even have live music. 6219 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660.
6. Evandy's Boatel
This restaurant has fantastic views of the Illinois River. It's just good old homemade comfort food in a family-friendly setting. 100 Bob Michael St, Naples, IL 62665.
7. The Loading Dock Bar and Grill
If you are looking for waterfront dining, this is the only place in the area that offers it. Food is casual (burgers, apps), but this view is incredible. 401 Front St, Grafton, IL 62037.
8. Italian Village Carbondale
On the outside, this is just your classic Italian pizza parlor. But they have a pretty awesome outdoor eating area. The patio has separate dining areas and is otherwise just very pretty. 405 S Washington St, Carbondale, IL 62901.
9. Rustle Hill Winery
The Shawnee area is full of all sorts of wineries, but we like this one because they serve food, too. They have everything from soups to sandwiches to burgers (with wine pairings, of course). 8595 US-51, Cobden, IL 62920.111
10. North Pond
This one is fairly pricey, but check out this awesome view you get. The restaurant is located within Lincoln Park. The food is fresh, organic, with locally-sourced ingredients. 2610 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614.