It’s Patio Time in Loveland
While we Coloradans enjoy sunny weather nearly all year long, summertime in Colorado is the best time of year to take advantage of enjoying a delicious meal outside, in the shade, with warm breezes, clean air, and oftentimes, spectacular views.
Loveland is certainly no exception to this rule. No matter what kind of food (or drink) you are in the mood for or how much money you want to spend, there are plenty of great options to choose from for patio dining here in the Land of Love.
This summer, because of a special Patio Program created by the City of Loveland, many of our restaurants have actually been able to increase the size and scale of their patios to be able to serve more guests in an effort to provide ample dining opportunities while also maintaining social distancing and fresh air! The restaurants that are currently approved to expand their patios through this program are: Betta Gumbo, Blue Sports Grill, Cactus Grille, Door 222, Loveland Laser Tag Café, Taste Local, The Black Steer Restaurant, The Pourhouse, West End Lounge, and Wicked Tequila Room.
Loveland is home to over 200 restaurants, breweries, bars and other establishments in town, and while I’m not exactly sure how many of them have some sort of patio options for diners, I am pretty certain that the majority of them do. So if you haven’t yet, make plans now for some amazing al fresco dining today!
Here are some of my favorites, by area of town:
Backyard Tap – This place is almost entirely outdoors, and is a perfect place to hang out with friends, grab a beer and try some delicious fare from a local food truck. There are patio games, fire pits, and sometimes, live music! You can find Backyard Tap on Railroad Ave., just south of 4th Street in downtown.
Betta Gumbo, Colorado Coffee and Vatos Tacos at the Foundry – If you haven’t been down to the Foundry Plaza in downtown Loveland yet this summer, it is time to check it out! Located between Cleveland and Lincoln Avenues along 3rd Street, there are now three restaurants on this plaza with killer patios! So whether you’re looking for creative and modern Mexican at Vatos, Cajun and New Orleans’ style classics at Betta Gumbo, or even coffee and homemade giant cinnamon rolls at Colorado Coffee, there’s plenty of great patio space to pick from!
Door 222 – One of my favorite places to eat in Loveland, any time of the year. This summer, Door 222 is one of a handful of Loveland restaurants that is taking advantage of the new Patio Program offered by the City of Loveland that allows them to expand their patio space beyond its current borders into the street. They have temporarily taken over the parking spaces in front of the restaurant with a beautiful fence and outdoor lighting to allow for magical outdoor dinners right on the main stretch of 4th Street in downtown. Don’t miss their Stuffed Peppadew Peppers before your meal—I’m not someone who typically enjoys peppers, but this appetizer is one of the best that I’ve EVER had. Pair that with your drink of choice (their Raz Collins is calling my name) along with their Angus Beef Short Ribs and the Half Baked Chocolate Cake, and you’re in for an amazing meal!
Other great patios in central Loveland to check out include AKA Kitchen, Blue Sports Grill, Cactus Grille, Casa Real, Crow Hop Brewing, Dairy Queen, Dark Heart Coffee Bar, Loveland Aleworks, Loveland Tap & Tavern, Origins Wood Fired Pizza & Wine Bar, Serious Texas BBQ, Sports Station, Starlight Dessert Bar, Taste Local, Tilted Barrel Brewpub, The Black Steer, The Pourhouse, Verboten Brewing, West End Lounge and Wicked Tequila.
Bent Fork the Grill – Located in the Promenade Shops at Centerra, this restaurant is one of my regular go-to’s for modern takes on classic American dishes. Their patio is right out front of the restaurant, immediately adjacent to the beautiful water feature in the central plaza. There is plenty of shade available on hot days and the sound and views of the fountains and greenery is very nice. Currently they’ve also been able to expand their patio area into the sidewalks along the plaza, under trees and along the water, so there really isn’t a bad place to sit! My absolute favorite dish at Bent Fork is their Salmon BLT, and my wife loves their Short Rib Tacos.
Biaggi’s and P.F. Chang’s – Also at the Promenade Shops, Biaggi’s and P.F.Changs are next door to each other along the south entrance to the mall, but what many people may not know is that they also are immediately adjacent to the Chapungu Sculpture Park. Both of these restaurants feature sizeable, covered patios in the back that face the park, and have views not only of some of the beautiful hand-carved sculptures, but of the immaculately landscaped park and pristine lake. If you have time, take a stroll through the trail system at the 26-acre park and discover over 80 Zimbabwean stone sculptures!
Other great patios in east Loveland to check out include Loveland Laser Tag Café, McGraff’s American Grill, Nordy’s BBQ, Old Chicago, On the Border, Palomino Mexican Restaurant, Panera Bread, Red Robin, Rock Bottom, Smashburger and The Boot Grill.
Sweetheart Winery – This is a great stop for a lazy afternoon or a relaxing evening—and a perfect date spot! I could honestly sit on their patio by the Big Thompson River for hours, it is just so beautiful and calming with the river babbling on by. They have so much land that there is no problem social distancing here, and plenty of options for sitting, whether you’d like to be down by the river, near a fire pit or up on the porch. If you’re not sure what kind of wine to try, try a flight and get the charcuterie tray. Their staff is very knowledgeable about the different varieties of wine (which is made on-site) and they want to make sure that you enjoy your time. My personal pick is their Yolo County Malbec!
Wapiti Pub – The Wapiti Pub wins hands-down for best patio views, I think! Located up on the top of hill at Mariana Butte Golf Course, expansive views from their large, covered patio include the manicured golf course, Devil’s Backbone, Long’s Peak and much of the front range. They also feature the Colorado 100 – the largest selection of all-Colorado beers in the state! This place is definitely worth a visit, whether or not you’re interested in golfing.