Spring in Chicago means it’s finally time for one glorious thing—patio season. While the weather may still be hit-or-miss, these concierge-approved restaurants are sure to please whether you’re dining indoors or out.
The Duck Inn
“Where else can you dine on a patio that’s a literal backyard facing neighbors?,” says Langham Chicago concierge Philippe Gills. Occupying a corner tavern in the Bridgeport neighborhood that predates Prohibition, The Duck Inn is a favorite of both Gills and concierge Monica Reyes of theWit Hotel. Helmed by Michelin-starred chef Kevin Hickey, a Bridgeport native, this local haunt serves up creative duck dishes—as the name would imply—in addition to American eats ranging from cheese curds with hoppy mayo and their delectable duck fat dog (Chicago style, of course) to heartier fare like the braised pork shank with spaetzle, pickled kale, and lingonberries. Coupled with their inventive cocktail program—read the descriptions, they don’t disappoint—and comfortable atmosphere, you’ll soon come to see why this neighborhood gem has grown into a true destination restaurant.
For a stellar cocktail program and small bites that venture into South America with both authenticity and creativity, Flor Sigaran, concierge at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, suggests paying a visit to Boleo. Perched atop the 15th floor of The Kimpton Gray Hotel, this rooftop restaurant and bar showcases vibrant and inspired dishes curated by chef Alexis Hernandez and a spirited beverage program lead by head bartender Jess Lambert. Housed under a massive open-air, retractable glass roof, guests can delve into the Latin flavors while listening to the seductive, worldly beats of live music.
Just a short cab ride from Randolph Street’s restaurant corridor is the charming Piccolo Sogno. While the elegant interior is an ideal setting for an intimate dinner, it’s the lush patio out back that is the real draw. Best described as a tranquil garden that immediately transports you from the bustle of the city by Ramon Gomez, concierge at the W Chicago Lakeshore, this neighborhood gem also happens to serve up some of the best rustic Italian cuisine in town. And what would a good Italian meal be without pasta? Here’s an off-menu secret for you: they offer half portions of all of their pasta and risotto dishes, which Gomez recommends if only for the opportunity to try more of their brilliant dishes.
Boasting what the Hotel Monaco’s concierge Catelyn Rydzewski describes as the “cutest little nook of a rooftop” is Wicker Park’s Mahalo, a casual, two-level eatery with an entertaining menu of Hawaiian fusion cuisine paired with fruity drinks. Helmed by Parker Restaurant Group’s Corporate Chef/Partner Ryan Wombacher, the Mahalo menu features island favorites with a modern twist. The menu consists of poke, pupu, salad and large plate options while the drink menu includes—you guessed it—tropical cocktails.
Parson’s Chicken & Fish
Delicious frozen cocktails, hush puppies, fried chicken, and ping pong? That’s a winning, and fun, combination says Jennifer Brody, concierge at Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago, which is why she—and many locals—simply can’t get enough of Parson’s Chicken & Fish. This neighborhood favorite boasts a sprawling patio reminiscent of attending a backyard barbecue. Laid back and casual, grab a spot at one of the communal picnic tables and do yourself a favor by ordering one of their negroni slushies. Paired with some buttermilk fried chicken and crunchy cool sides? You’ve got a can’t-beat outdoor dining and drinking experience.