Throwing Shade

Sun’s out, umbrellas up! It’s patio season in Texas and these are some of the best patios around

Hub Streat

It’s finally happened. Hub Streat, a one-of-a-kind culinary entertainment center in the Downtown Plano Arts District is now open. And it’s worth the wait. Hub Streat isn’t just one experience but many all rolled up together, including live music, rooftop cocktails, craft beer, pool tables and arcade games. As for food, diners can browse food trucks and eat on picnic tables or visit the scratch kitchen in Hub Central for Joe Spuds, Pizza Girl on Wheels, Atlas Tacos and Salt & Season Rotisserie—this is where you want to spend your summer.

Katy Trail Ice House Outpost, Preston Park Village

Want to spend your Saturday under shady trees in a colorful lawn chair, your dog lounging at your side? You aren’t alone. Katy Trail Ice House Outpost’s Austin-style beer garden is sheltered from Park Boulevard by tall shrubs, creating a buzzing patio exclusively built for listening to live music, eating loaded queso and drinking Summer Beer (Blue Moon, Deep Eddy Lemon, lemonade and angel dust, probably). Trust us, it rocks.

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The patio at Katy Trail | By Cori Baker

Whiskey Cake, West Plano

Whiskey Cake has some of the best food around, and with summer heat on the way, the outdoor fire pit is off and the fans are on. Cloaked in shade, Whiskey Cake is the perfect place for something guava and rum-infused with a dash of honey, topped with a hibiscus flower. A true farm-to-table concept, a restaurant doesn’t get more seasonal than Whiskey Cake. Additionally, if it’s California you’re craving, Sixty Vines, next door, has a sinfully gorgeous patio as well as a greenhouse.

The Social House, Addison

Good food, good drinks: The Social House has it all, featuring a scratch kitchen and sunny tables under wide cream umbrellas, as well as bar stools nestled against the covered bar. If that’s not incentive enough, there are 50 beers on tap. Come for the brunch, stay for a Strawberry Mojito and a Snapchat in the shade.

Rusty Taco, Central Plano

Ice-cold beer, no-frills street tacos garnished with lime—Rusty Taco’s relaxed atmosphere and taco obsession make for an awesome snack at a low, low price. There are 13 handmade street tacos, not including breakfast tacos which, by the way, are served all day. The margaritas are made with “fresh lime, cheap tequila and lots of it” and from the fried chicken taco to the roasted pork, it’s hard to resist ordering all 13.

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The patio at Rusty Taco | By Cori Baker

Mash’d, Frisco

Drink during happy hours under the rust-orange umbrellas of Mash’d, a self-proclaimed rebel in the tradition of scratch kitchens (they serve Serious Queso, Legit Guacamole and Bootleg Ribs) with a sweet specialty: moonshine. Visit the shaded patio bar to order an Organic Berry Smash or a Jolly Rancher made with Georgia Moonshine and presented in a mason jar.

Did we mention that they have Happy Hour twice daily? Because they have happy hour twice—daily.

The Boardwalk, Plano

Granite Park’s brand new Boardwalk offers a traditionally land-locked city something fresh: waterfront dining. Taking shape even now, the Boardwalk will feature up to 6 specialty restaurants, a children’s play area and fire pit, all overlooking an animated water feature in front of the Hilton Hotel. A beloved Dallas institution, Chips Old Fashioned HamBurgers opened this May,, followed by Union Bear and Hook Line and Sinker opening this summer.

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By Cori Baker

Snug on the Square, Downtown McKinney

It doesn’t get snugger than Snug on the Square. This coffee-bakery-gift shop combination has umbrellas for shade and a laid-back atmosphere, the perfect pitstop while window shopping in downtown McKinney. Where else can you sit back in funky mismatched lawn chairs sipping an Iced Snickerdoo—espresso with Ghirardelli chocolate, toasted almond and caramel drizzle?

Urban Crust, Downtown Plano

Downtown Plano looks its best when viewed from above. At sunset, Urban Crust’s sleek rooftop bar, 32 Degrees, is the the best place to sample draft beers poured at a temperature of—you guessed it—32 degrees. DJs spin on the roof on Friday and Saturday nights, but on Wednesday, stop in for an Urban Amore pizza with fig preserves, prosciutto di Parma, goat cheese and arugula, and it will arrive accompanied with smooth Italian jazz.  

Legacy West

Storefronts and businesses are opening at Legacy West like May flowers after April showers, but let’s be honest—nothing is more exciting than the new restaurants on Plano’s trendiest street. Every single one of Legacy West’s restaurants comes complete with a patio, from Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Shake Shack and True Food Kitchen (all three are already open), to Mesero, North Italia, Sprinkles and Earls Kitchen + Bar, which all open this month. There’s even a stunning $4 million dancing fountain.

Lava Cantina, The Colony

Opened by Ian Vaughn, former COO of Raising Cane’s, Lava Cantina is a Creole-Mexican fusion restaurant and one of North Texas’ largest concert venues and restaurants, seating 1500.

It’s New Orleans with just a touch of Vegas thrown in for kicks with a rooftop bar, a flaming fountain and three booming stages. If you’re feeling particularly fancy, there’s a number of private dining options and VIP lounges. They even have the most expensive tequila collection in Texas, including a $3,000 tequila flight. For more tame dining, visit for a live jazz brunch every Sunday and savor pressed crepes and beignets.

Lakeside Market, West Plano

Lakeside Market has three intimate and date-worthy patios in one: Mi Cocina; Mignon, one of the most charming little French bistros you’ll ever see; and Taverna Rossa, home of truly epic pizza and beer. At all three, shade and fans keep the tables blessedly breezy. Occasionally, unintimidated ducks waddle through, nipping at dropped chips. And no one can resist the siren song of Mi Cocina’s Mambo Taxi on a hot Texas day.

Café Istanbul, The Shops at Legacy

The Shops at Legacy has a multitude of lighted and cocktail’d patios ideal for a warm June evening. But only one has belly dancing. Café Istanbul offers true Turkish cuisine, everything from tea to lamb shank, with classic checkered chairs and roses blooming up the stone-and-wood fence. A large old tree is the centerpiece of this quiet garden where it’s easy to enjoy a night of fine dining and people watching.

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By Cori Baker

Señor Locos Tex Mex Ice House, East Plano

Gloriously noisy night and day, Señor Locos Tex Mex Ice House is a hidden gem with some of Plano’s best margaritas—frozen or on the rocks—and ultimate Mexican comfort food. Eye-popping chairs sit under Corona and Modelo umbrellas, a natural haven on Margarita Wednesday—20 ounce margs are only $4.

Brio Tuscan Grille, Watters Creek

Roasted red pepper bruschetta and tiramisu, with a view of Watters Creek over the lake—Brio Tuscan Grille is ideal for an evening bottle of chilled white wine. When the flowers bloom on the patio, the umbrellas are up and the trees are green, it’s practically heaven, especially if you manage to score one of the cushioned loveseats. Sit back, relax and enjoy the breeze off the water.

Frogg Coffee Bar and Creperie, Watters Creek

Right beside the shaded green space in Watters Creek, is a little piece torn off of a European street. At least, that’s what Frogg Coffee Bar and Creperie feels like. I’m a sucker for a crepe, savory or otherwise, as well as a seasonal summery smoothie like strawberry buttermilk. Frogg has both. Needless to say, Frogg has a good thing going on: coffees and crepes as well as views of Allen’s darling shopping center from under chic red and white awnings.

They have a S’mores crepe. I mean—come on.  

Bonnie Ruth’s, Frisco

Wicker chairs in the shade surrounded by trees and flowers, Bonnie Ruth’s patio will almost convince you you’re not in Kansas anymore, so to speak. A pastry shop, old-fashioned bar and French café, Bonnie Ruth’s Neighborhood Bistro is a breath of fresh air. Enjoy people-watching and lounging with assorted cheeses, fine wine and eclairs.

Trattoria Al Giardino, Frisco

Whether it’s business or pleasure, Trattoria Al Giardino promises quiet elegance on their patio, complete with a water feature, pergola and traditional Roman columns. The food itself is fresh every time, flavorful, and a reflection of Tuscany’s reputation for being delicious. Their desserts are made from scratch, in-house, daily.

Bavarian Grill, Plano

Wiener schnitzels, wursts, sauerkraut, spaetzle, apple strudel, beer—it all tastes better outdoors. Cozy and old-world, Bavarian Grill is at its best in the Biergarten, a colorful, shaded porch straight out of the German countryside. The staff dresses to the nines in lederhosen and you can drink in some German culture. And German beer.  

CRÚ Food & Wine Bar, Plano and Watters Creek

Under signature purple umbrellas, CRÚ’s elegant combination of New American fare and fine wine makes it an enchanting date spot. Whether it’s Champagne Thursday, Happy Hour or Pizza Monday (buy a bottle of wine and the pizza comes with it), CRÚ has your back, providing luxury by the bottle or by the flight.

Originally published in Plano Profile‘s June 2017 issue.