Originally created 05/26/05

Open-air fare worth a look



To sit outside and enjoy a meal is to be one with the elements. Along with the usual chatter of your fellow diners, add wind, sun, birds, butterflies and, oh yes, sometimes rain.

Linnea Hopkins Mace, the assistant manager at the West Side Bowery restaurant in Aiken, said the restaurant's patio, which is open almost 10 months of the year, draws waits of up to an hour during the spring and fall. Even when the temperature soars in July and August, intrepid souls can be found dining in the shade of a massive weeping willow.

"You'd be surprised how many people sit out there in the summer, too, especially in the night, when the humidity isn't so bad," Ms. Hopkins Mace said.

Many restaurants have a table or two outside, but some embrace the outdoors with covered decks and seating for a crowd. Just remember to watch those clouds.

In Augusta

Cotton Patch
ADDRESS: 816 Cotton Lane at Riverwalk Augusta
THE FOOD: Casual lunch and dinner fare including Cajun dishes and jerk chicken
THE SETTING: Seating for 55 on a brick patio enclosed on three sides; overlooks fountain area at Eight Street bulkhead and Riverwalk Augusta
THE BASICS: 11 a.m. to closing Monday-Saturday; noon to closing Sunday; 724-4511

Cafe Du Teau
ADDRESS: 1855 Central Ave.
THE FOOD: Fine French and Creole
THE SETTING: Seating for about 30 on a covered
just off Central Avenue
THE BASICS: 5 p.m. to closing Monday-Friday; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday; 733-3505

My Friend's Place
ADDRESS: 353 Highland Ave.
THE FOOD: Sandwiches, salads and wraps
THE SETTING: Seating for 40 on a patio at Surrey Center, with a view of the fountain in the parking lot
THE BASICS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday; 11 to 4 p.m. Saturday; 736-1960

P.I. Bar & Grill Steak House
ADDRESS: The Partridge Inn, 2110 Walton Way
THE FOOD: Steak, seafood, sandwiches, and salads
THE SETTING: Seating for 150 on the veranda above Walton Way; part of veranda is shielded from the elements for year-round use
THE BASICS: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 6 a.m. to midnight Friday-Saturday. The bar is open until 1:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 737-8888

The Pizza Joint
ADDRESS: 1245 Broad St.
THE FOOD: Pizza, stromboli, calzones, sandwiches, salads, beer and wine
THE SETTING: Seating for 40 on an enclosed deck and for 100 in the courtyard in front of the building
THE BASICS: 11 a.m. to midnight Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday; noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and noon to midnight Sunday; 774-0037

Rhinehart's Oyster Bar
ADDRESS: 3051 Washington Road
THE FOOD: Oysters, crawfish and other seafood
THE SETTING: Seating for about 36 at picnic tables inside an enclosed porch and for about 75 in a yard separated from Washington Road by a fence and bushes
THE BASICS: 11 a.m. to midnight Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday; 860-2337

Vallarta Mexican Restaurant
ADDRESS: 2808 Washington Road
THE FOOD: Mexican
THE SETTING: Seating for about 60 on a porch just off Washington Road
THE BASICS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday; 733-5584
ALSO
ADDRESS: 3144 Wrightsboro Road
SETTING: Seating for about 50 on a porch just off Wrightsboro Road
THE BASICS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 731-0321

In Aiken:

Davor's
ADDRESS: 227 The Alley
THE FOOD: American and Continental, featuring tapas, seafood, pork, beef and veal
THE SETTING: Seating for 55 on a patio wrapping around the back and side of the restaurant
THE ESSENTIALS: 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday-Sunday; (803) 641-1909

Up Your Alley Restaurant
ADDRESS: 222 The Alley
THE FOOD: Steaks, chops, and seafood
THE SETTING: Seating for about 30 in a private courtyard. A small waterfall and ceiling fans enhance the ambiance
THE BASICS: 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 4:30 to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; bar open later; (803) 649-2603

The West Side Bowery
ADDRESS: 151 Bee Lane
THE FOOD: Sandwiches, seafood and salads
THE SETTING: Seating for about 25 on a weeping willow-draped patio at The Alley and Bee Lane
THE BASICS: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, (803) 648-2900

Worth a look:

- Teresa's Mexican Restaurant, 235 Boy Scout Road

- Hooters of Augusta, 2834 Washington Road

- Famous Dave's, 2821 Washington Road

- Wild Wing Cafe, 3035 Washington Road

- California Dreaming, 3241 Washington Road

- Vera Cruz Mexican Restaurant, 1077 Stevens Creek Road

- Ferrando's Italian Pizzeria, 231 The Alley; Aiken

- Aiken Brewing Co., 140 Laurens St. S.W., Aiken

Reach Patrick Verel at (706) 823-3332 or patrick.verel@augustachronicle.com.