By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Oct 04, 2021 at 10:01 AM

’Tis Dining Month, the tastiest time of year! This means we’re dishing up fun and fascinating food content throughout October. Dig in, Milwaukee!

Looking for new spots to try? Lori Fredrich will be dishing out her top five picks in 20 different dining categories throughout the month of October.  

Milwaukee is home to a throng of amazing patio spaces, from cozy hidden gems and sky high rooftop oases to beautifully landscaped outdoor dining rooms that offer a blissful retreat from the daily grind.

Here are five that live up to the hype.

1. The Yard

The Yard at The Iron Horse HotelX

The Iron Horse Hotel
500 W. Florida St., (414) 831-4677
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It's tough to beat a patio that's beautifully landscaped, but also equipped with soft seating for lounging with snacks, hightops for brunch with friends, plus a congenial bar where you can linger and chat. Add in protection from random rain showers beneath a canopy that still allows the sun to shine through and it's pretty tough to beat.  My recommendation: go for brunch.

2. La Merenda

La Merenda patioX

125 E. National Ave., (414) 389-0125
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If the globally inspired small plates at La Merenda aren't compelling enough, try eating them on the beautifully appointed patio, which seems to get bigger and better every year. Take shelter under the pergola or enjoy the sunshine or outdoor fireplace feature. Pro tip: Stop by for lunch!

3. Centro Cafe

Centro Cafe patioX

808 E. Center St., (414) 455-3751
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Among the charms of this Riverwest patio is its location, tucked back behind the restaurant and out of the way of the bustle on Center Street. But its landscaping – which makes the space resemble a secret garden – seals the deal. It's the perfect spot for sipping wine and eating pasta on a balmy fall evening.

4. Parkside 23

Parkside 23 patioX

2300 Pilgrim Square Dr.,  (262) 784-7275
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Despite its location just off of North Avenue, Parkside 23 provides a remarkable respite from city life with its well appointed 70-seat patio, which was created with comfort in mind. Just take a look at the perfectly placed trees, shrubbery and seating options, which vary from sun to shade. If you can, grab a table near the corner water feature where the soothing aquatic sounds create a zen-like effect.

5. Harbor House

Harbor House PatioX

550 N. Harbor Dr., (414) 395-4900
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A predictable pick? Absolutely. But it's impossible not to feel better when you're sitting a stone's throw from Lake Michigan. Pair that up with fresh seafood (in my case, a dozen freshly shucked oysters) and it's pretty much paradise. Don't forget, it really can be "cooler by the lake," so just be sure to bring a light jacket in case the lake breeze is particularly fiesty.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.