Outdoor dining guide 2013

With April upon us, restaurant patios will again fill up with diners looking to enjoy the Central Texas spring weather. We have compiled a list of some of the popular local dining establishments that offer outdoor, full-service dining, along with food and beverage recommendations from the owners and managers. This list is not meant to be comprehensive and does not include every area restaurant with outdoor seating options.

El Monumento

Fresh-from-the-garden ingredients are used for menu options including green chile pork stew (traditional pork stew with tomato, garlic, onion and green chiles), costillas de res (slow-braised beef short ribs, onion and carrots in achiote beef broth) and mole de pato (duck hindquarter with Xico mole). The patio hosts live music and seats approximately 150 guests, and some tables overlook the San Gabriel River.

Manager Jeanette Murphy recommends the fried pork cheek, served with fried parsley and corn tortillas, and the Eight Hour Margarita, which is infused with ingredients over the course of eight hours before being served.

French Quarter

  • 901 Round Rock Ave., Ste. D, Round Rock
  • 512-433-6402
  • www.frenchquarterroundrock.com
  • Hours: Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. (lunch), Mon.–Thu. 5–9 p.m. and Fri.–Sat. 5–10 p.m. (dinner)

Enjoy Cajun-style cuisine with menu options such as gumbo, etouffee and other seafood. Drink options include specialty drinks, beer and liquor such as cognacs and cordials. The patio offers year-round dining, live music and private events and seats 40 in a covered area, 20 in a gravel area and 12 on an uncovered deck.

General Manager Jere Whiteside said customers cannot go wrong with the French Quarter Salmon, which is served with prosciutto, topped with fresh basil pesto, chilled crab and fresh tomato and drizzled with balsamic reduction. To complement the dish, Whiteside recommends a glass of Galan Sauvignon Blanc.

Gumbo's North

  • 701 S. Main St., Georgetown
  • 512-943-4214
  • www.gumbosnorth.com
  • Hours: Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. (lunch); Mon. 5–9 p.m., Tue.–Sat. 5–10 p.m. (dinner); and Sun. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. (brunch)

The restaurant serves authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine with lunch specialties including a crawfish po' boy and muffalettas, and dinner selections such as the St. Michael (blackened steak with Cajun herbs and spices, topped with sauteed crawfish tails) and tortilla-crusted salmon (pan-sauteed, topped with sauteed crabcake and served over chipotle cream sauce, freshly sliced avocados and jalapeo corn relish). Live music and special events are held on the patio, which seats 40–50 guests and overlooks the Georgetown Square.

Manager Sarah McGrew recommends guest favorites including Crawfish Eddy (served with herb-buttered toast in a creamy tarragon sauce) and stuffed rainbow trout (stuffed with shrimp and crawfish tails, pan-sauteed and topped with bearnaise sauce and served over herb butter garlic cream sauce with a spinach and tomato Florentine). McGrew recommends a pairing from the restaurant's wine selection or a specialty drink such as a hurricane or French 75.

Homefield Grill

  • 2000 S. I-35, Round Rock
  • 512-388-4663
  • www.homefieldgrill.com
  • Hours: Sun. 10 a.m.–11 p.m., Mon.–Thu. 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.–midnight and Sat. 11 a.m.–1 a.m.

Homefield Grill offers daily specials and a variety of salads, sandwiches and burgers made with Texas-grown Nolan Ryan beef. Drinks include seasonal draft beer picks. A partially covered patio seats 50 and includes fans to keep customers cool.

Vice President of Operations Walt Powell recommends selections from the restaurant's new menu, including the cilantro orange chicken skewers appetizer, made from chicken breasts glazed with orange peanut sauce, and the chicken-fried beef short ribs as an entree. To drink, Powell recommends Adelbert's Naked Nun beer.

Junior's Grill and Icehouse

Located in downtown Round Rock, the restaurant offers live music, trivia and other daily events on its patio. Food selections include burgers, sandwiches and quesadillas, while drink options range from 18 beers on draft to mixed beverages and wine.

Co-owner Amanda Langer recommends an order of fried pickles or chips and salsa with one of the restaurant's draft beers.

Morelia Mexican Grill

  • 18900 Limestone Commercial Drive, Ste. 110, Pflugerville
  • 512-670-3463
  • www.moreliamexicangrill.com
  • Hours: Sun.–Thu. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.–11 p.m. and Sat. 11 a.m.–2 a.m.

The restaurant offers traditional Mexican cuisine including enchiladas, chalupas and flautas, as well as seafood and grill specialties. Its Pflugerville location's patio seats approximately 70 guests.

Manager Sylvia Miranda recommends guests try the restaurant's fajitas, which are made with different types of sauces; the fried avocados; or the pollo conquistador, a chicken breast stuffed with shrimp, pico de gallo and cheese and topped with mushrooms in a cream sauce. Miranda's recommended drinks include the mango-flavored mojito and Abuelita Margarita, which is made with peach and other tropical flavors.

PBK Stem & Stein

  • 111 E. Main St., Pflugerville
  • 512-251-3810
  • www.pbkstemandstein.com
  • Hours: Mon.–Fri. 4:30 p.m.–close, Sat. 3 p.m.–close

Tucked into downtown Pflugerville, the restaurant offers menu options ranging from double-cut bone-in pork chops smothered in tomatoes and okra to fried chicken with bacon cinnamon waffles. Drink options include Texan beers and a variety of wines by the glass or bottle.

Bryan Gano, general manager and executive chef, recommends guests start with the crabcakes with red pepper aioli or the shrimp diablos, followed by fried catfish with sauteed green shrimp rmoulade as an entree. For drinks, Gano recommends beer lovers try the Rogness Brewery seasonal or the Philosophizer from Adelbert's Brewery's. Wine lovers should try the Origine Sauvignion Blanc from Russian River Valley, Calif., or Bench Cabernet from Alexander Valley, Calif. The patio seats 90 guests and features live music, free monthly beer and wine tastings and seafood boils each weekend in April.

Reunion Grille

  • 1501 E. New Hope Drive, Cedar Park
  • 512-528-5644
  • www.reuniongrille.com
  • Hours: Sun.–Wed. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Thu. 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–midnight

Guests can enjoy brunch selections such as brioche French toast and cowboy hash, lunch selections including Cedar Park Meatloaf and the Whitestone Ranch Pork Chop and dinner selections such as the 5 Napkin Pulled Pork Sandwich or Austin Amber Braised Sausages. The patio hosts an outdoor bar and restroom, a children's playscape, a stage for live music and seats approximately 200.

Assistant General Manager Eric Kuykendall said customers enjoy the restaurant's chicken-fried steak and chicken-fried chicken as well as the Not Your Mama's Shrimp and Grits plate, which includes sauteed bacon-wrapped shrimp served on top of creamy cheese grits and topped with spicy tomato-chipotle sauce. To drink, Kuykendall recommends a specialty martini or margarita.

Rio Grande Tex-Mex Restaurant

  • 560 Hwy. 79, Hutto; 15821 Central Commerce Drive, Pflugerville
  • 512-759-1449 (Hutto); 512-252-1800 (Pflugerville)
  • www.riograndemex.com
  • Hours: Mon.–Thu. 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.–10:30 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.–9 p.m.

The restaurant strives to offer the best in food presentation, fresh ingredients and service and offers Tex-Mex favorites such as queso, tacos, chalupas and enchiladas. Specialty drinks include horchata, a sweet, milky beverage. The patio at the restaurant's Hutto location seats approximately 40 customers, and the Pflugerville location's patio seats approximately 30.

Hutto location Manager Daisy Cisneros recommends the carne gratinada, a charbroiled beef fajita steak topped with melted Monterey Jack cheese, sauteed mushrooms, onions and bell peppers. To drink, the restaurant offers the Hippo Margarita, a top-shelf drink with orange color to salute Hutto's mascot.

Salt Lick

  • 3350 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock
  • 512-386-1044
  • www.saltlickbbq.com
  • Hours: Sun.–Thu. 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.

The taste of Salt Lick's barbecue—produced by searing meat and then slow-cooking it over wood fires—is served with selections such as beef and pork ribs, sausage and turkey. Entrees can be topped off with cobbler or pecan pie and washed down with sweet tea. The patio includes a playscape for children and a bandstand for live music, which seats approximately 100 guests.

Manager Wade Weihausen recommends the Thurman's Choice, which includes brisket, pork ribs and sausage and is served with coleslaw, beans and potato salad on the side.

Westside Alehouse

  • 1500 N. I-35, Round Rock
  • 512-238-8438
  • www.westsidealehouse.com
  • Hours: Sun.–Fri. 11 a.m.–midnight, Sat. 11 a.m.–1 a.m.

The restaurant offers a variety of alcoholic drink selections, including local beer and liquor, as well as food options such as burgers, wings and other grill specialties. The patio hosts trivia nights, live music and other events and seats approximately 100 guests.

Manager Corey Matthews recommends a customer-favorite burger or order of wings topped off with a (512) Brewing Co. beer.

By Korri Kezar
Korri Kezar graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011 with a degree in journalism. She worked for Community Impact Newspaper's Round Rock-Pflugerville-Hutto edition for two years before moving to Dallas. Five years later, she returned to the company to launch Community Impact Newspaper's Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth edition, where she covers local government, development, transportation and a variety of other topics. She has also worked at the San Antonio Express-News, Austin-American Statesman and Dallas Business Journal.