All Decked Out

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Story by Dave Eckert

After suffering through a winter that seemed as though it would never end, Kansas City is now full-on into summer. For me, summer means more time out on the deck eating and drinking. And not just my deck, but decks, patios, deck ceilings and rooftops throughout the metro. What follows is a shortlist of some of my personal favorite spaces for dining and drinking al fresco in and around Kansas City. And to make your choices even broader, I’ve included some of the favs from my friends on the Facebook Page, KC Hardcore Foodies.

Photo courtesy of Joe Moskus

I’ll start with a new discovery for me, Pinstripes in Overland Park. Located in the Prairie Fire development on 135th Street, Pinstripes is part eatery, part bowling alley, and part bocce ball court. Recently, my family made the cross-metro trek from Liberty to South Overland Park to eat, drink, and bowl, and it was a hoot! But perhaps the best part of the experience (aside from some pretty tasty grub) was the patio. Shaded and expansive, complete with a fire pit, the patio is one of the nicest in town.

I spoke with Executive Chef Brandon Johnson about the patio and the challenges and pleasures of feeding folks outside. “We really try to put an emphasis on the guest experience, whether it’s inside in the bistro or outside on the patio. I’m blessed with a wonderful outdoor space that features a fireplace, outdoor bocce, and plenty of tables,” Johnson told me during our visit.

Moving to the Country Club Plaza, the hands-down favorite patio has to be the one at Gram and Dun. Packed at all times and during all seasons, Gram and Dun’s outdoor space has an upbeat vibe that’s hard to beat. “On any given day, our patio can account for 40 percent of our sales,” said Chris Steuwe, Vice President of Operations for Bread and Butter Concepts, owner of Gram and Dun. “It’s kind of a beast of its own. People just want to be out there. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Tuesday or a Friday, if the weather’s nice they want to be out on the patio.”

Also on the Plaza, I’ve long loved the back deck at The Classic Cup. My wife and I have been noshing and imbibing at The Cup for nearly 30 years, and while we don’t get down there nearly as often as when we resided in Brookside, The Cup’s back deck remains one of our favorite outdoor spaces in town!

Photo courtesy of Pullman BBQ

Finally for me, another newcomer – Pullman BBQ in downtown Parkville. Located in a Pullman rail car and a Missouri Pacific caboose, Pullman not only serves some of the best barbecue in town, but offers some of the best ambiance on its two-tier outdoor patio. Featuring live music on Saturdays, the deck offers loads of comfortable seating under umbrellas and in the shade. And if you want to eat inside, that’s fine too. After all, it’s way cooler to eat barbecue in a train than a gas station, right?

Now, as promised, some input from my Facebook Friends at Hardcore KC Foodies. I’ve listed their selections in the order of the number of responses each location received. Trezo Mare, Rye, Cafe Des Amis, Cafe Provence, Ca Va, The Farmhouse and Le Fou Frog.

There you go – enough choices to definitely get you outside. Perhaps I’ll catch you at one of these or another al fresco dining option this summer. Cheers!

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