St. Albert's summer patio scene
Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 06:00 am
Jacquelyn Fraser looks forward to the summer patio season every year.
“I love patio season for the sunshine and the frozen cocktails,” she says.
This is Fraser’s second summer in St. Albert and the city offers a huge range of breezy eating choices from coffee to tapas and pubs to pizza.
“ I love getting some sun,” Fraser says. “It feels so relaxing. I moved from the Northwest Territories and I think there was one patio by the time I left so I kind of binged on (patio time) here.”
In addition to the sunshine, a patio just has a different vibe than eating indoors. Fraser says a meal on a patio doesn’t feel rushed; it’s a more leisurely experience.
She enjoys eating outdoors with friends, and at lunchtime East Side Mario’s is one of Fraser’s favourite picks. With arbours laced with greenery and pots of vibrant flowering plants, the patio at East Side Mario’s resembles a little oasis.
“You kind of forget you’re practically in a parking lot,” she says.
When heading out for drinks, Original Joe’s is on her list because she enjoys the older crowd there. Diners at Original Joe’s must be of legal drinking age.
Wesley Littke, operations director at The Celtic Knot says customers were anxious to see the patio built as soon as the pub opened its doors last year. The 45-person patio opened last September, about six months after the restaurant, when all of the necessary permits were secured.
“It was a hit right from the get-go,” Littke says. “It’s off the (St. Albert) Trail enough that you’re not hearing loud motors driving by, and it’s shaded generally on one side throughout the entire day.”
Littke says Fridays and Saturdays are the most popular days on the patio and it has been busy despite a rainy start to the season.
“This year has been difficult because of the rain. Lots of rain,” Littke says. “So it’s kind of up and down. Some days we’ll open (the patio) in the morning and then have to close it.”
If you’re looking for a patio the little ones can enjoy too, Glasshouse Bistro & Café at The Enjoy Centre is a great choice. The second storey patio is tucked in the northwest corner of the Enjoy Centre away from busy roads.
“During the day we get quite a few office-goers so quick lunches, and of course garden centre folks coming in to buy some plants,” says Glasshouse Bistro’s Julianna Mimande. “The weekends are filled with families.”
Like the location, the menu at Glasshouse Bistro & Café offers something a little different from traditional patio fare like nachos.
“We don’t have a deep fryer, so it’s all made from scratch,” Mimande says. “Lots of lighter salads and sandwiches at lunch, and then in the evening there’s some entrees like short ribs and chicken, and lots of nice little snacks and appetizers to enjoy on the patio.”