What is it about dining outdoors that turns the simple act of eating into an occasion? Whether you’re sitting at a picnic table or lounging in a comfortable garden chair,
enjoying the view, somehow the laughter seems brighter, the drinks go down smoother, and conversation sparkles.
A thriving restaurant scene is sure to have more than its share of outdoor dining. And Augusta is fortunate to have numerous excellent restaurants and cafes that make dining outdoors a great event, day or night. Here’s a sampling:
******* THE HILL *******
PARTRIDGE INN BAR AND GRILL, 2110 Walton Way, (706) 737-8888, partridgeinn.com
Go for: The Hill breeze and one of the best views of downtown Augusta
The vibe: Lounge with friends on comfortable settees and plump armchairs on the PI’s wide-planked porch – and meet other friends, both old and new.
Drink and food of choice: With a full bar and easygoing staff, the sky’s the limit. Choose a bright summer cocktail with your choice of liquor and sample bites of bar food such as lamb sliders and fried mozzarella. Lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch is also served.
Did you know? The PI also features live music (no cover!) on Friday and Saturday nights.
CRUM’S ON CENTRAL, 1855 Central Ave., (706) 729-6969 or (706) 729-6971, crumsoncentral.com
Go for: Their newly expanded patio
The vibe: Within walking distance of several residential neighborhoods on the Hill, Crum’s has a neighborhood hangout feel with its garden furniture and friendly waitstaff.
Drink and food of choice: Crum’s features a short list of their own martinis (the Mango Cosmo is especially tempting) as well as an interesting range of beers and wines. Their wood-fired pizzas are a favorite, as are their variety of starters, including deviled eggs. Lunch and dinner entrees are also available.
Did you know? Crum’s also offers Saturday and Sunday brunch, a good option for outdoor dining, especially during warm summer months.
And what about:
• Curbside dining at 5 O’Clock Bistro, 2111 Kings Way, (706) 922-9560, 5oclockbistro.com
• The indoor patio at Sheehan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, 2571 Central Ave., (706) 364-1234, sheehansirishpub.com
******* WASHINGTON ROAD AREA AND EVANS *******
RHINEHART’S OYSTER BAR, 3051 Washington Road, (706) 860-2337; and 305 N. Belair Road, Evans, (706) 868-6850, rhineharts.com
Go for: Casual dining under the stars
The vibe: A carefully cultivated hole-in-the-wall atmosphere works. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands messy as you dig into seafood that’s beyond casual.
Drink and food of choice: Grab a pitcher of beer and settle in at a picnic table. Seafood comes three ways – fried, grilled or raw. Why not start with a plate of raw oysters, followed by the crab legs?
Did you know? Rhinehart’s offers weekly lunch, dinner, beer and mixed-drink specials.
TERESA’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT, 235 Boy Scout Road, (706) 737-8917, teresasmexicanrest.com
Go for: Giant margaritas
The vibe: Families, friends, work friends – all are welcome at Teresa’s, which boasts a large number of weekly regulars. The covered patio can get crowded – and loud.
Drink and food of choice: Choose one of several specialty margaritas. Teresa’s huge menu offers an almost overwhelming number of choices, but if you get stuck, you can’t go wrong with a House Specialty such as the Chiles Rellenos or Taquitos Mexicanos.
Did you know? Teresa’s has restaurants in three states – Georgia, South Carolina and Minnesota.
******* DOWNTOWN AUGUSTA *******
BEE’S KNEES, 211 10th St., (706) 828-3600, beeskneestapas.com
Go for: Funky and unique food
The vibe: If you go to Bee’s Knees, it’s likely that you’re young (or young-at-heart), you’re hip and you’re really into interesting art.
Drink and food of choice: Bee’s Knees has developed a cult following for its sangria. Voted Best Appetizers in Augusta Magazine’s Best of Augusta, Bee’s Knees offers a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan tapas that are so good you won’t miss the meat. Chicken and seafood tapas are also available.
Did you know? Bee’s Knees also serves entrees and Sunday brunch.
NACHO MAMA’S, 976 Broad St., (706) 724-0501, nachomamasaugusta.com
Go for: The rocking chairs
The vibe: A downtown staple, Nacho Mama’s caters to anyone who enjoys its take on Mexican – rolled fresh, fat and tasty.
Drink and food of choice: Order a pitcher of draught beer or margaritas to go along with one of their house burritos, including the spicy Havana, featuring red chili shrimp and mango habañero salsa, or the Stepdaddy Nachos, loaded with refried beans, pico, cheese and more. No matter what your entrée, a side order of the cheese dip and chips is a must.
Did you know? Nacho’s bar stays open “until we get tired.”
COTTON PATCH, 816 Cotton Lane, (706) 724-4511, eatdrinkbehappy.com
Go for: Music and atmosphere
The vibe: The Cotton Patch’s brick patio and fountain are a popular hangout for those in favor of good, reliable food, great music (live on weekends) and a fun atmosphere. The Patch also offers Wednesday night trivia.
Drink and food of choice: The Patch specializes in classic American cuisine. A pitcher of beer and one of the Patch’s big burgers are a great choice for lunch or dinner. Or go all out with their loaded nachos, chicken tenders or fried shrimp.
Did you know? The Cotton Patch offers daily meat-and-two specials and drink specials.
And what about:
• Casual dining at 1102 Bar & Grill, 1102 Broad St., (706) 364-4075, 1102augusta.com
• International-inspired foods under the black awning at Blue Sky Kitchen, 990 Broad St., (706) 821-3988
• Asian, and now, sushi, at Soy Noodle House, 1032 Broad St., (706) 364-3116, soynoodlehouse.com
• Charming and rustic-covered patio at Casa Blanca Cafe, 936 Broad St., (706) 504-3431, casablancatime.com
• Interesting cocktails and upscale dining at Frog Hollow Tavern, 1282 Broad St., (706) 364-6906, froghollowtavern.com
• Covered patio in a renovated gas station at Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers, 1167 Broad St., (706) 828-5578, mellowmushroom.com/augusta
• A dining experience that’s dog and child friendly at Pizza Joint, 1245 Broad St., (706) 774-0037, thepizzajoint.net
• Picnic tables at Rooster’s Beak, 215 10th St. or (706)-364-2260, feedyourbeak.com, and look for their brand-new food truck on the streets of Augusta
******* NORTH AUGUSTA *******
TASTE, 465 Railroad Ave., (803) 341-9881; and MANUEL’S BREAD CAFé, 505 Railroad Ave., (803) 380-1323, manuelsbreadcafe.com, both in Hammond’s Ferry
Go for: An other-city experience
The vibe: This is outdoor dining as you might experience it in larger cities. The residential neighborhood is a quietly charming setting for the two restaurants directly across from each other in the center of Hammond’s Ferry.
Drink and food of choice: Both restaurants feature a farm-to-table philosophy and an interesting array of wines and other drinks. At Taste, try one of their cold or hot tapas, such as the pork belly biscuit, with a scratch cocktail such as the White Peach Sangria. At Manuel’s, a good meal might include one of their open-face sandwiches, including the classic croque monsieur, with a glass of old world or new world wine.
Did you know? Taste changes its menu offerings regularly, and Manuel’s offers up to 10 daily specials, so join their Facebook pages to stay abreast of any updates.
******* AIKEN *******
MAGNOLIA NATURAL MARKET AND CAFé, 210 York St. SE, (803) 649-3339, magnolianaturalmarket.com
Go for: A natural experience
The vibe: Open for lunch only, Magnolia’s rustic garden setting and white picket fence is a charming oasis in downtown Aiken.
Drink and food of choice: The mostly organic menu features salads, sandwiches, wraps and more, including the tempting mango shrimp salad and turkey burger. Wash it down with a lemonade garnished with fresh raspberries and organic ginger, or one of their small
selection of organic beers and wines.
Did you know? Many of their tasty salads are available to go by the pound, and Magnolia’s also offers a European-style organic produce market every Tuesday.
And what about:
• Good beer and conversation at Aiken Brewing Company, 140 Laurens St. SW, (803) 502-0707, aikenbrewingcompany.com
• Upscale Italian in a romantic garden setting at Casa Bella, 120 Chesterfield St. SE, (803) 641-3107, casabellaitalianrestaurant.com
• Courtyard dining with music on Friday and Saturday nights at Davor’s Cafe, 227 The Alley, (803) 641-1909, davorscafe.com
• Or step just next door to The West Side Bowery at 151 Bee Lane, (803) 648-2900, westsidebowery.com