Long before we all lived under the daily glow of fluorescent lights, dining al fresco used to be called something else: dinnertime. Even our caveman ancestors understood the allure of fire pits. And doesn’t the fact that we enjoy picnics indicate there is something coded in our DNA urging us to eat outside? We don’t know, ask a scientist. In the meantime, here are five great patios to kick off your summer.
Three Birds Some patios are built for people watching, but Three Birds was designed for privacy. It’s got a secret-garden feel from thick greenery and a wrought-iron fence that shield diners from outside bustle. 18515 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-221-3500, 3birdsrestaurant.com
Jekyll’s Kitchen A streetside cafe, a cabana bar and a casual dining section are all wrapped into one multilevel patio overlooking the falls. 17 River St., Chagrin Falls, 440-893-0797, jekyllskitchen.com
Tinker’s Creek Road Tavern This storied, century-old roadhouse got a big makeover in 2007. It boasts a more sedate vibe these days, and the creekside patio offers a quiet getaway spot. 14000 Tinkers Creek Road, Walton Hills, 216-642-3900, tinkerscreekroadtavern.com
This old house in the heart of the city’s historic French Creek District has outdoor seating on its large covered porch — like dining at grandma’s, just classier. 36976 Detroit Road, Avon, 440-934-0061, nemogrille.com