Who is Al Fresco anyway and when can I meet him?
No, you must. Even if you are in the anti-outside contingent, therefore likely a member also of the “I hate picnics” cabal, at least once a season you should choose to dine under the stars, among the cars, outside the bars. Why? you ask. For goshsake’s why?
Meet Al Fresco. Actually it’s a what, not a who. Sometimes written hyphenated or as one word, alfresco, it originated in the 1700s in Italy: literally meaning ‘in the fresh’ and it often referred to mural painting, on fresh and not-so-dry plaster. The English adapted the fresh part and added it to air, hence dining outside or in the open air.
Several reasons come to mind. First, in our beloved Kansas City, chancing
|McCormick & Schmick's|
Second, despite humidity, heat, cold, and wind, there exist many great, mostly umbrella-ed, restaurant outdoor spots that make the meal seem more special and taste even better. Third, until you become part of the outdoor crowd, eating outside somehow seems more exotic and glamorous. “Look,” you’re saying to the world, “Look at grown-up me, having fun as an adult, doing something a little bit different and yet still acceptable and I’m in my grown-up clothes, too.” Fourth, the air is not stale air conditioned or reheated molecules, it’s fresh.
Oh, I could go on and on. So I will. Another nice thing about dining al fresco in Kansas City is that a number of restaurants have really gone above and beyond to create a wonderful, relaxing ambiance, usually one where it’s not so easy to hear your neighboring diners’ conversations and the vibe is a bit more relaxed. (From the other side: this also means people may linger . . . and patio seating is really luxury seating.)
|Sasha's Baking Co.|
People dine al fresco for other reasons than ambience – a big one is to people watch. A long-time fave for that? The Classic Cup, where the sidewalk dining is the ultimate in interactive viewing and whose vine covered patio in the back offers a different kind of respite. Other people-heavy views (not to be confused with heavy people views) can be yours at Bo-Lings in the Market, several of the KCP&L restaurants, and Thai Place in Westport. Among others.
|Grunauer - Biergarten|
I have to add that I’m anxiously awaiting the new patio (attached to his new restaurant) that Jimmy Frantze is building. JJ’s will have a prime location in the Plaza Vista (aka Polsinelli) building, and the city scape overlooking Roanoke will definitely be an intriguing one.
Like I said, I could go on and on. But I can’t – so definitely see our complete chart, including who has live music, heaters, which have what views, which are covered, and much, much more. Detailed chart of amenities that each patio offers.
Al Fresco rocks!