Now that the snow days have finally been swapped for 70-degree weather and being outside doesn’t require two coats and mittens, it’s time eat food from the comfort of a warm rooftop deck with a view. But in case you’re bored with the classic patio seating, here are three rooftop restaurants nearby.
When the severe thunderstorm warning for 6 p.m. got pushed back to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, my mom and I took the potential risk of frizzy, lion’s mane hair and and went to O’Dowd’s Little Dublin, a rooftop restaurant on the Plaza. I can’t say I’ve ever noticed the little pub on the corner of the plaza right off of Ward Parkway — it’s easily overlooked on the way to shop at Lululemon or Urban Outfitters. But nonetheless I made my way in and climbed two flights of stairs to the roof.
My seat at the edge of the rooftop deck offered a nice breeze every now and then, but when I looked to my right, I wasn’t as pleased. The parking garage and Victoria’s Secret weren’t exactly what I wanted to be looking at while enjoying my food. Although all the underwhelming decor matched the color of the grey sky, the restaurant itself was chic, modern and totally somewhere I would want to “watch” a football game on a Sunday night.
A few raindrops quickly turned into our predicted downpour so we moved under the strategically placed hooded section of the roof to order our food. Looking over the menu I was glad I had come with my mom rather than my thin, weekend chore salary wallet, seeing that I was having a hard time finding an entree under $12. I decided on an order of fish and chips to split with my brother. The parmesan dusted fries were nothing short of fantastic and the crispy cod made me reconsider my distaste for seafood. Easily a five star for the fish and chips.
Walking into The Well I thought my Google maps had made a mistake. The lights were dim, the floors were very dark and the crowd was almost entirely middle aged couples day-drinking and wondering what a group of teenage girls was doing there. I just about turned around before I asked to be seated on the roof. The host told me it was free seating up there and I was welcome to take a look. Reluctantly I bypassed the questioning crowd and made my way upstairs.
The roof was a whole different restaurant. The bright blue umbrellas and lively music made me feel like it was summertime at the lake. We sat at a short stone table next to the edge of the roof that overlooked shops across the street and brought the direct midday sun onto our skin. It had me wishing I was by the beach rather than facing a week of school in front of me.
To ease the pain of that harsh reality check, I ordered a side of sweet potato waffle fries and nachos to share. Rustic containers carried my soon-to-be favorite sweet potato fries to ever reach my mouth — so good I could’ve eaten them from my kitchen floor (gross by the way).
I’m no nacho fanatic but the $9 pile of chips, cheese, chicken, sour cream and pico de gallo that was placed in front of me was amazing not only to look at but also to devour — which we did, of course.
So the next nice day I need a taste of summer and an escape from my constant pile of homework you can find me at the Well.
When scanning Google for rooftop restaurants near me I was surprised to see El Patron on the list. This is my family’s go-to Mexican restaurant downtown ever since I can remember. How could I not know they had a roof?
I put my name on the 20-to-30 minute waitlist for roof seating. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had the idea to enjoy delicious Mexican food and the 70-degree weather. After a round of chips and salsa, we were led up some narrow stairs and onto a tiny seating area. I understood why the wait was so long when I looked over the place. The patio could only seat around 30 people and even 20 was cramped, but once we sat down I hardly noticed the lack of room. We scanned our menus even though we knew exactly what we wanted: chicken fajitas to share.
A plate of food was placed in front of me stacked with chicken, steaming veggies, hot tortillas, guacamole, rice and beans. My usual Chipotle order seemed like junk compared to what was sitting under my nose. Each bite carried just the right amount of spice and flavor.
Waiting for our server there wasn’t much to look at. The view was hardly worth the 20-minute wait — I wouldn’t call a pothole-ridden parking lot and a brick building very “scenic.” The venue was no steak house but the food was way better than your average Salty Iguana.