Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Broad Street Series V2 | Outdoor Seating

Sette Pizza's courtyard patio, image via Sette website.

As summer comes to a close and temperatures begin dropping to an incredibly bearable (and downright delightful) mid-80's range, all I want to do is sit outdoors and soak in the last few weeks of warmth. Eating is something I also must do, for obvious reasons, so it's only logical that I attempt to combine the two at least a few times a week. Ever since visiting Paris, I've felt that Broad Street, among others in Richmond, has the most incredible potential to support outdoor sidewalk dining. I realize it's quite absurd to compare Broad Street to the incredible culture and atmosphere of Paris, but a girl can dream, right?

Anyways, a number of great restaurants on Broad Street already take advantage of this incredible opportunity. We've put together a list of our favorites, some of which have hosted outdoor dining for awhile, and others who have created new spaces for you to soak in the last few smells and sounds of summertime.

1. Lift Coffee Shop
Lift has had outdoor seating ever since I have been in Richmond and I can't even count how many lazy Sundays I have spent there people watching and relaxing with friends. Their food is creative, veg friendly, and absolutely delicious. The coffee is spectacular as well. If you're craving something hoppy, they also have a fantastic selection of bottled beer. Go by and relax under the bright green umbrellas this Sunday, I guarantee you'll be glad you did.

2. The Republic
The Republic has recently added an outdoor seating section at the corner of Allison and Broad. They change their menu every few weeks to celebrate the traditional fare of a unique culture or country. Great location for watching your favorite sports team as well. I'm excited to try out the outdoor spots soon.

3. The Empress
I finally visited Empress for lunch just a few weeks ago after months of telling myself I needed to check it out. The food was fantastic, but their recent addition of outdoor tables and chairs has officially made it my new favorite restaurant. I had one of the most incredibly delicious and affordable dinners there about two weeks ago. The service was wonderful, the food was gourmet and the outdoor seating made the night seem slightly magical. I highly recommend taking an evening to check this place out.

4. Cafe Gutenberg {Update: Cafe Gutenberg has since closed, Arcadia is set to open in the Fall.}
I heard a rumor awhile back that Cafe Gutenberg would be closing soon and my heart nearly broke. Turns out, Cafe Gutenberg has merely changed ownership to breathe the life back into this wonderful restaurant. From their website, "The new menu and the interior, with its humble yet long- overdue makeover, offers Richmonders what can sometimes seem so hard to find: warm familiarity and attention to detail, locally-inspired food and drink at an affordable price, and the chance to feel pampered in your jeans and t-shirt." I've eaten at Cafe Gutenberg a few times and the food has never failed to impress me. The outdoor seating is just cozy enough to allow you to enjoy your evening but lively enough to remind you that you're still in Richmond.

5. Sette
Head a little farther east on Broad and you'll discover Sette. What makes Sette's outdoor dining unique is that it's actually off the street, located in a private courtyard beneath crepe myrtles and strands of lights. The atmosphere is amazing, as are the pizzas!

6. Millie's
Any given weekend you'll see a line literally out the door for Millie's famous brunch. Yes, it is that good. I've never gotten there early enough to secure one of the coveted outdoor tables, but it looks divine! Sure, the wait for a table is sometimes an hour or more, but you can sip on their delicious brunch concoctions while you chat it up with friends as you wait outside!

7. Poe's Pub
We just ate at Poe's for the first time about two weeks ago for brunch, and let me say - it is the hidden gem of the Tobacco Row neighborhood. Don't let the herd of motorcycles parked out front fool you; their brunch menu is off-the-charts delicious (and creative to boot!), their outdoor seating area is fantastic and I bet you five dollars if you go once you'll be back for more.

This is only a short list of a few of our favorites. Where are your favorite spots to eat outside on Broad Street? Send us a note via minimalistrichmond@gmail.com and we'll add them to the list!

Christie Thompson & Emily Jones

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