Chicken N Pickle in North Kansas City is one of several area bars and restaurants to add outdoor seating for customers. The rooftop patio features 10 Boulevard beers on tap, yard games and a stage for live music and DJs. Allison Long and Joyce Smith The Kansas City Star
Chicken N Pickle in North Kansas City is one of several area bars and restaurants to add outdoor seating for customers. The rooftop patio features 10 Boulevard beers on tap, yard games and a stage for live music and DJs. Allison Long and Joyce Smith The Kansas City Star

Cityscape

New places to dine al fresco in KC, from rooftops to alleys

By Joyce Smith

jsmith@kcstar.com

July 21, 2017 11:59 AM

UPDATED July 21, 2017 04:04 PM

Chicken N Pickle’s rooftop patio is the latest addition to the growing North Kansas City entertainment hub.

Perched above a rotisserie chicken restaurant, it overlooks pickleball courts and yard games, a weekend food truck hub, a beer garden with a KC Bier Co. shack selling such items as four of the Kansas City brewery’s beers on tap, Thou Mayest coffee and grass-fed burgers.

Dubbed the Boulevard Rooftop Deck, it has a full-service bar featuring 10 Boulevard beers on tap, more yard games and a stage for live music and DJs. On Friday and Saturday evenings, customers will move tables out of the way and dance.

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“It’s extremely popular; people love to dine al fresco, listen to live music and watch the sunset,” said partner Bill Crooks. “It’s a way for people to interact and be more social. It’s a place for celebration.”

Kansas City is offering several more choices for outdoor dining this season: rooftop decks with sweeping views of the city, secluded back alley venues, unpretentious to-go only operations with picnic tables and Adirondack chairs, and sidewalk setups on bustling streets for people-watching.

Patios can easily boost restaurant profits; some industry sources say up to 65 percent. When consumers can see others partying on rooftop decks, patios and picnic tables, they want to join in, too.

Here’s a look at some new patio choices across the metro:

▪ Charlie Hooper’s Brookside Bar & Grille, 12 W. 63rd St., has added sidewalk patio seating for 36 people.

“It had been there for 35 years and had the back patio with three walls, but they never utilized the sidewalk in the front area,” said Chris Lewellen, who purchased Charlie Hooper’s with his brother Andy in 2014. “And people can bring their dog. Where else can you sit and have a beer with your dog?”

The brothers also expanded their Lew’s Grill & Bar, at 7539 Wornall Road in Waldo. Their new Side Car opened in a space next door, serving 26 beers and cocktails on tap with seven TVs lining the walls. It can be used for a private event space or for overflow dining. A garage door opens during nicer weather to a patio seating about 35 people. They also have a rooftop deck on the Well in Waldo.

“Summertime is normally slower for most restaurant and bars, except when they have a patio,” Lewellen said. “People just like to sit outside when the weather is good. On a nice day you feel guilty for being inside.”

The Fairway Houlihan’s added several tables along its front facade in May.
Joyce Smith jsmith@kcstar.com

▪ Houlihan’s, Fairway Shops, 2820 W. 53rd St., Fairway. In May it added four 4-top and four 2-top tables on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, along with string lights for ambiance in the evening.

“We’re right near the Plaza, and people are looking for a place they can walk to and have their puppy out there,” said Maxine Vazquez, regional operations director. “We wanted to see what the neighborhood interest was, and our guests are definitely loving it.”

The patio serves the restaurant’s full menu, along with complimentary dog treats.

Lilo’s Shaved Ice, in the parking lot of an Aldi grocery store 8300 N. Oxford, opened Memorial Day and will close for the season in the fall.
Susan Pfannmuller Special to The Star

▪ Lilo’s Shaved Ice & Soda, 8300 N. Oxford St., near Liberty. A new locally owned, gourmet shaved ice shack has five picnic tables and 10 Adirondack chairs. On Friday and Saturday nights, from about 5 to 9 p.m., it also hosts food trucks.

▪ SoT cocktail bar opened at 1521 Grand Blvd. in the Crossroads in September with a patio seating about 40 people. Owner Ron Berg added heaters for cooler weather and a covered bar in the spring.

“We wanted to create something fun and different. We have framed artwork, a bar shed with vines growing on the shed, string lights,” Berg said. “Different types of seating and lounge furniture. People say they feel like they are in their living room because of how cozy it is.”

Patio customers can order off the cocktail bar menu, and they also get a selection of canned beer, prosecco on tap and more specialty cocktail choices.

“Even though we have tons of shade it doesn’t really fill up until later in the evening,” Berg said. “And customers have booked it nearly weekly for private events: birthdays, engagement and going-away parties or simple gatherings.”

Other new options include the rooftop deck at HopCat and downstairs patio at Snow & Co., both in Westport; the sidewalk tables at Eddie’s V’s in the Country Club Plaza area, iTap in the East Crossroads, Freezing Moo in Overland Park, the Unbakery and Juicery in Brookside, Jarocho Mexican Seafood in south Kansas City, Tiki Taco on West 39th Street, Pinsa Pizzeria & Kitchen in Lee’s Summit, and the Roasterie Cafes in the Crossroads and Westwood.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC