Nothing draws people outside in The Bend quite like the arrival of warmer temperatures. And that means patio dining.
Whether you like the bustle of downtown or a view of the St. Joseph River, several restaurants and bars around The Bend offer outdoor seating. Here are some of the best spots to dine al fresco.
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Please remember: Open hours and operations may vary as restaurants reopen after coronavirus-related shutdowns. Please call ahead to the establishment if you have any questions.
Brothers Bar + Grill
If you’re looking for a college bar vibe, this is your spot. The expansive patio at Brothers Bar + Grill is situated on Eddy Street, just south of Notre Dame’s campus. It buzzes on game days in particular but is always a popular spot for Fighting Irish fans or just those looking to be outside on a beautiful day.
Café Navarre has been a fine dining destination in downtown South Bend since opening its doors. You can take that elevated experience outside with a patio that runs alongside its historic building. The menu — with everything from oysters to roast chicken — is one of The Bend’s best.
The Carriage House Dining Room & Gardens
Another fine dining restaurant, The Carriage House offers a special menu every year just for its guests that choose to dine al fresco. Doing so means being seated in one of the most unique environments The Bend has to offer: beautifully landscaped gardens that are fit for an Instagram post. If the flowers don’t catch your attention, the food certainly will.
Doc Pierce’s Restaurant
Doc Pierce’s is long on history and charm, a local place in downtown Mishawaka that hasn’t changed much over the years. That’s good thing. One of the major additions to the restaurant was a garden patio, which often runs at capacity on summer nights. It’s considered by locals one of the best outdoor dining spots in The Bend.
Evil Czech Brewery and Public House
Wander out back at this local brewery and you’ll find one of the most unique patios around. It’s mostly covered for plenty of shade, has community tables and is complete with a double-decker bus that serves food. After grabbing a spot to sit, head over to the bus for an order of tacos.
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Hensell’s Oaken Bucket
Think of the Oaken Bucket as a little slice of nature in the city. Located near the Indiana University South Bend campus, “the Bucket” has a multi-level deck with a panoramic view of the St. Joseph River (pictured below). It was a finalist for best burger in The Bend during 2014’s Burger Wars competition and dares guests to take the King Burger Challenge — finish a 4-pound burger in 45 minutes and the meal is free.
Note: As Four Winds Casino South Bend remains closed due to coronavirus, so does Kankakee Grille at this time
Head into Kankakee Grille, located inside the Four Winds Casino in South Bend, and you’ll find a laid back atmosphere that serves up “comfort food with a twist.” Its patio, which seats about 50 people, is at the back end of the restaurant but faces out toward the casino’s main entrance. Get settled in outside before order pizza from the wood-fired stove or one of the many craft beers available.
O’Rourke’s Public House
It’s hard to go wrong by visiting an Irish pub, especially one practically in the shadow of the Golden Dome. O’Rourke’s is situated across from Notre Dame with a patio that looks across Angela Boulevard and onto campus. Stop by on game day and (if you’re lucky enough to grab a seat) you’ll be right in the mix as fans head toward the stadium.
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Papa Vino’s Italian Restaurant
Wouldn’t be quite right if we had a patio list without at least one Italian restaurant. The patio at Papa Vino’s is a respite from the hustle and bustle of the Mishawaka retail corridor. Bread and oil, a glass of wine then dinner — that’s amore.
Simeri’s Old Town Tap
Outdoor experiences don’t come much more authentic than Simeri’s, a family owned establishment with one of the most well-known patios in the area. Walk through the cozy main bar and you’ll find a sprawling setup outside with plenty of seating, plus a stage for local bands. Live music is a summer staple. It transforms the local bar into an entertainment destination.
South Bend Brew Werks
Another downtown South Bend spot, South Bend Brew Werks gets a little bigger in the spring with the addition of its fenced in patio. Tables fit for big groups or multiple parties foster the sense of community on which the local brewery was built. Kick back, order a pint and relax.
Wind Family Fireside Terrace
Note: Wind Family Fireside Terrace is currently closed as Rohr’s remodels.
Located in the heart of Notre Dame’s campus, the Morris Inn offers outdoor seating at Wind Family Fireside Terrace (pictured at the top) adjacent to Rohr’s. You can relax with a drink in soft seating or grab a table. Wind Family Fireside Terrace often hosts events like Smoky Sunday, which serves up delicious barbecue. Don’t worry about parking: valet at the Morris Inn is free if you’re dining inside or you can make a short walk from the Hammes Bookstore.
It’s hard to cut any list short. We stopped at 12 for this one, but here’s our honorable mention: Fiddler’s Hearth, The Hideaway, Ironhand Wine Bar, Livery, PEGGS, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, South Bend Chocolate Café, Temper Grille, Tippecanoe Place, Woochi Japanese Fusion, Doc Pierce’s Restaurant.