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New Patio Hot Spots for Summer

After quite the treacherous winter, the last thing Chicagoans want is to spend another moment inside. Fortunately, you don't have to at these five new restaurant patios.

A selection of Mediterranean-inspired tacos and sweet treats from Elle on the River

1. Bottlefork
At the newest venture from Rockit Ranch Productions, including former Four Seasons Chicago chef Kevin Hickey, creative riffs on contemporary American dishes and craft cocktails are the name of the game. While the vibe inside the River North hot spot is cool—check out the whimsical mural on the front wall—it’s the new outdoor patio where we like best to enjoy dishes such as braised beef cheek poutine and smoked lamb ribs. But with only a handful of seats, it fills up fast. Consider yourself warned. 441 N. Clark St., 312.955.1900

2. Elle on the River
If a few of your favorite things are people watching and eating delicious food, then Elle's is your new summer spot. Located at the Langham Hotel, this hip patio features Mediterranean-inspired tacos and salads. Select music from a pre-loaded playlist on your own personal jam box while sipping on the popular punch bowls. Life doesn’t get much better. 330 N. Wabash Ave., 312.923.9988

3. LYFE Kitchen
The spacious health-centric restaurant in River North aims to please with a varied menu that includes options for vegans, vegetarians and gluten-free diners for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Meat-eaters feel the love too with dishes such as the popular unfried chicken, a specialty of celeb chef and partner Art Smith. Up the feel-good vibe and grab a spot on its sidewalk patio decked out with flowers and plants. We feel better already. 419 N. Clark St., 312.836.5933

4. Nico Osteria 
Be transported to the coast of Italy at this charming patio located in the heart of the Gold Coast. Fab people watching plays second fiddle though to the Italian-inspired seafood dishes coming out of the kitchen of this Thompson Hotel Chicago restaurant, including terrific crudos, lobster spaghetti and salt-crusted branzino. Cheer to your good fortune of snagging a coveted patio seat with a glass of rosé. Ciao bella! 1015 N. Rush St., 312.994.7100

5. The Winchester 
The welcoming patio of this laid-back café—located on a quiet, tree-lined street in Ukrainian Village—illuminates with twinkling white lights hanging overhead. Stop by in the morning for fluffy fritattas or avocado toast (sounds simple, tastes incredible). Later in the day, there’s smoked trout salad, while dinner offers crispy chicken thighs and bucatini with meatballs. Look for a selection of creative cocktails from Peter Vestinos, as well as a thoughtful wine and beer list. 1001 N. Winchester Ave., 773.698.8703