With warm weather on the way, it's time to trade in your favorite corner booth next to the big stone fireplace for a patio table and an umbrella next to a river or scenic city street. Great food plus a great view equals a memorable family dinner, so check out our favorite spots in the St. Louis area for enjoying alfresco dining.
Café Osage: Fans of the farm-to-table movement will enjoy eating their veggies in the garden where they're grown at Osage Café in the Central West End. The café, located in Bowood Farms, features organic herbs and vegetables grown onsite and patio seating in the garden's courtyard. Café Osage is located at 4605 Olive St., St. Louis, MO, 63108. Call 314-454-6868 or visit bowoodfarms.com.
McGurk's Irish Pub and McGurk's Public House: While kids will love exploring the waterfalls and gardens at John D. McGurk's Irish Pub and Garden in St. Louis and McGurk's Public House in O'Fallon, Missouri, grownups will love the delicious Irish fare and romantic atmosphere. McGurk's Public House is located at 108 S. Main St., O'Fallon, MO, 63366, and McGurk's Irish Pub and Garden is located at 1200 Russell Blvd., St. Louis, MO, 63104. Visit mcgurks.com for more information or call 314-776-8309 for the pub and 636-978-9640 for the O'Fallon location.
Schlafly Bottleworks: Though the beverage selection is decidedly adult, the atmosphere is relaxed and family friendly, and a large covered patio makes it a comfortable spot on a warm summer day. The restaurant offers a fresh, sophisticated take on traditional favorites, like oven baked goat cheese and beer bread with blue cream cheese and bacon jam. While you're there, be sure to take a peek at Gardenworks, where the restaurant grows much of the produce used on its menu. Schlafly Bottleworks is located at 7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, MO, 63143. Call 314-241-2337 or visit schlafly.com/bottleworks.
Lewis and Clark's: For dining with historical flair, grab a table on the deck at Lewis and Clark's. This public house offers a traditional American menu, good service, a relaxed atmosphere and charming views of historic downtown St. Charles. Be sure to order a bowl of the establishment's legendary white chili. Lewis and Clark's is located at 217 S. Main St., St. Charles, MO, 63301. Call 636-947-3334 or visit lewisandclarksrestaurant.com.
Hacienda Mexican Restaurant: Nibble chips and salsa next to the bubbling fountain on "La Terraza," the lush outdoor dining area at Hacienda Mexican Restaurant. For a special occasion, visit in the evening, when the patio is illuminated by strings of lights. Hacienda is located at 9748 Manchester Rd., St. Louis, MO, 63119. Call 314-962-7100 or visit haciendastl.com.
Boathouse in Forest Park: Order brunch on the lakeside patio at Boathouse in Forest Park and take in some of the loveliest views in the heart of St. Louis. For a special treat, cap off the visit with a paddleboat ride. Boathouse is located at 6101 Government Dr., St. Louis, MO, 63110. Call 314-367-2224 or visit boathouseforestpark.com.
Gus' Pretzels: For true alfresco dining, grab a hot dog pretzel sandwich to go from the legendary Gus' Pretzels and enjoy it on a bench at nearby Benton Park. Gus' is located at 1820 Arsenal, St. Louis, 63118. Call 314-664-4010 or visit guspretzels.com. Benton Park is located at 2200 Wyoming St., St. Louis, Mo., 63118.
The Loading Dock on the River: Enjoy traditional summertime fare like barbecue, burgers and bomb pops with a spectacular view of the Mississippi at The Loading Dock on the River. The Loading Dock is located at 401 E. Front St., Grafton, IL, 62037. Call 618-786-3494 or visit graftonloadingdock.com for the 2015 hours of operation. The Loading Dock is subject to flooding, so be sure to call before you visit.
Pi Pizzeria: All the Pi Pizzeria locations are yummy, fun and family-friendly, and we love that they help educate patrons on sustainability in action, but for the ultimate cool outdoor dining experience, check out The MX, downtown at The Mercantile Exchange. The MX is located at 610 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO, 63101. Call 314-588-7600 or visit restaurantpi.com. If you're dining with children, arrive a bit early to beat the crowd.
Best Bets articles represent the views and the research completed by St. Louis Sprout & About journalists and are not driven by advertising or requests by vendors or venues. Best Bets do not imply an endorsement of a business or activity.