New (and a handful of old) restaurants are redefining Plymouth’s outdoor dining experiences.
The days of summer are soothing and sweet, but woefully, as in the winter season, many of us still spend a lot of time inside, whether that be working, driving, at appointments or running errands. So for those moments you can break away and find yourself craving a lunch or dinner date, why not get the most out of the season and think outside? Let this feature serve as your guide to some of Plymouth’s best patio brasseries. After all, we Minnesotans have a limited number of months to enjoy this kind of delicacy.
Solos Pizza Café
Create a pizza with pizzazz and dine overlooking a tranquil pond surrounded by flowers and plenty of greenery. Because there are six sauces and nearly 30 toppings to choose from at Solos, it might take a while for you to make a decision, but don’t fret. The menu also comes with a list of salads and “Solos pizza faves,” to make the process a little simpler. The Big Tony ($6.25 for 7-inch, $7.75 for 10-inch), a pie topped with marinara, sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, green pepper, onion, fresh basil and oregano, is Solos most popular specialty pizza. 2700 Annapolis Circle N.; 763.331.0233; solospizza.com
Authentic cooking is the name of the game at El Azteca. Whether you want to dine a la carte, or order off the main menu, there are plenty of options to please everyone in your group, including vegetarians. Complimentary chips and salsa come with every order, but you’ll want to leave room for the generously sized entrées. Don’t be intimidated by the large menu. For the indecisive, we recommend the enchiladas verdes ($11): three rolled corn tortillas stuffed with shredded beef, topped with tomatillo sauce, and served with a guacamole salad and rice. Did we mention there’s also authentic Mexican dessert? A tres leche cake ($4.75), flan ($4.25) fried ice cream ($4.50) and daring fried cheesecake xangos ($4.50)are exotic treats that make the night all the more sweet. 3500 Vicksburg Lane. N. #500; 763.550.1570; elaztecamn.com
Jake’s City Grille
Bask in the sun and dine alfresco on Jake’s spacious patio. With a picturesque pond, nightly bonfire and plenty of room to walk around, outdoor dining at Jake’s is a sweet retreat from a long day at the office. Specializing in small plates, Jake’s starter menu is not one to be ignored. Notable items include the beer-battered mushrooms and chicken lettuce wraps—both satisfyingly savory and less than $10. Of course, you also can’t go wrong with a generous portion of the award-winning JakeWings, coated and grilled in a sweet-and-spicy sauce ($11.95). Jake’s also keeps a selection of seasonal beers on tap, so you can pick a brew that matches the sweet serendipity of a Minnesota summer. 3005 Harbor Lane N.; 763.559.1595; jakescitygrille.com
If you haven’t had a chance to stop by the Factory’s new location, which opened in Plymouth last November, the summer season is the perfect time to make a first trip. With its warm, modern and inviting aesthetics, the outdoor patio is complete with TVs, a fire pit, bar and about 20 tables for ample seating. Consider sharing a simple pesto flatbread to get things started ($9.95 for fresh basil, $10.95 with chicken)—and split the shareable banana cream pie for dessert ($7.95). Tip: Check the website regularly for Twins game-day drink specials. 4100 Vinewood Lane; 763.535.7000; esunshinefactory.com
The Eat Shop
Two large patios surround the exterior of Eat Shop Kitchen & Bar, a restaurant devoted to serving seasonal fare. Summer specials include lots of colorful salads and fresh menu options. Enjoy a round of drinks with friends beside the main patio’s peaceful, cascading waterfall. With seating for 75, there’s plenty of room for everyone—including Fido. That’s right. Dogs are welcome on Eat Shop’s patio. “We’d rather have them bring their best friend along then leave them at home,” owner Reid Sellgren says. Occasionally during the summer season, the patios host beer tastings, concerts and other celebrations, taking the quirky and lively Eat Shop atmosphere to another level. 16605 County Road 24; 763.270.5929; theeatshop.com
Start your weekend off feeling the breeze outside while sipping on one of Grizzly’s happy hour beers or glasses of wine. From 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can enjoy specials on select drinks and appetizers. There’s also “Titanic Tuesdays” with $3.50 Long Islands and “Thirsty Thursdays” with $3.50 margaritas. Plan on staying for a while and relaxing on the outdoor lounge chairs and couch by the fire pit. Though outdoor dining is the main patio attraction, last year, Grizzly’s turned the space into a live entertainment venue for an August “patio blowout party.” Watch for more information on these kinds of events as the summer kicks into full gear. 220 Carlson Pkwy. N.; 763.476.1011; grizzlysgrill.com
Lucky’s 13 Pub
For a casual, cozy dining experience, check out Lucky’s expansive patio. The fire pit, wooden veranda, brick walls, wire chairs, mounted televisions and outdoor bar set the scene for a relaxing and inviting meal. Customers are invited to munch on endless coconut-oil popcorn while they wait—a bonus, light treat for those hot summer days. Open for breakfast (on Saturday and Sunday only from 8 a.m.–1 p.m.) lunch and dinner, the menu is full of classic American dishes, like buttermilk pancakes ($9.99), burgers ($9.99–$14.99, add cheese or bacon for $1 each) and blue-ribbon meatloaf ($13.49). We also enjoy some of the more adventurous options, like the Korean beef tacos ($9.99) or Chivito Sandwich: thin-sliced garlic beef, cherry wood ham, thick-cut bacon, mozzarella, black olives, lettuce, tomato, mayo and a fried egg on a ciabatta bun ($13.99). 3000 Harbor Lane N.; 763.746.0071; luckys13pub.com