There’s nothing quite like alfresco-style dining when summer arrives in the Pacific Northwest. With the expansion of Mercer Island’s restaurant scene in recent years, locals have enjoyed a few new outdoor dining patios in Town Center. Check them out below, and learn about our favorite local spots for enjoying a cold drink and a delicious meal while soaking up the sun.
Bennett’s is the restaurant of Chef Kurt Beecher Dammeier, a Mercer Island resident and founder/owner of Beecher’s Cheese, Pasta & Co., and Maximus/Minimus. Bennett’s is committed to authentic, original meals, and you can taste the freshness in every forkful of salad and every bite of their juicy burgers. Of course, their original Beecher’s Mac ‘n Cheese is probably the most raved about item on their menu (and for good reason for its ooey-gooey cheesiness). But if you’re looking for something to pair with the warmer weather, their Dungeness Crab Cobb or BLT with Avocado are delicious options. Pop in during Happy Hour for a glass of Chardonnay and a $5 small plate on their patio. Bennett’s Bistro is located at 7650 SE 27th Street.
Kid-friendly and with a wide menu selection, The Islander is a great spot if you’ve got a group who wants to eat outside, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. One of our favorite dishes on a warm summer night is their freshly grilled Mahi Mahi fish tacos, topped with a flavorful coleslaw, and served with chips and salsa on the side. Try their turkey Panini, coconut prawns, or Caesar salad for a refreshing lunch on the patio. And if you stop in for Happy Hour, their bartenders will fix you up with anything you’d like! The Islander is located at 2441 76th Ave SE, Suite 150.
Italian food and alfresco dining go hand-in-hand at Mioposto. Inspired by traditional Neapolitan pizzerias in Italy, Mioposto uses an open-flame oven for all of their cooking. Their individual-sized pizzas with unique toppings are perfect for a summertime lunch on their patio, and they have kid-friendly pizza options. With a wide variety of delicious vegetarian dishes, like their shareable Eggplant Parmesan dish or their Giardino sandwich, Mioposto has something for every palate, including a gluten-free pizza dough option. A lovely wine selection complements their menu items, too! Mioposto Mercer Island is located at 2601 76th Ave SE.
If you’re in the mood for an ice-cold beer or a tasty cocktail on a warm summer day, the Roanoke Inn is the perfect spot for anyone 21 or older. This neighborhood tavern makes you feel right at home, and they’ve got an excellent drink selection to win you over. With three outdoor dining areas to choose from, you can sit in their relaxing backyard garden, pick a spot on their patio, or grab a booth on their front porch. Also, make a note yourself – their front porch has heating, so outdoor seating is even an option when fall and winter comes around. Grab some nachos during Happy Hour to pair with your cocktails, or try one of their tasty hamburgers to go with your IPA, and enjoy the beautiful summer weather outside at Mercer Island’s oldest establishment! Roanoke Inn is located at 1825 72nd Ave SE.
Casual Dining Options with Great Outdoor Seating
Mercer Island also has great outdoor casual dining options, ranging from picnic tables at our local parks to patio tables for your grab-and-go meals at Freshy’s Seafood Shack or New Seasons Market.
Freshy’s Seafood Shack
Fresh, sustainable seafood is never out of season at Freshy’s Seafood Shack. Owner and operator Bryce Caldwell sources the fish from his personal fishing connections, ensuring he’s always serving the freshest seafood possible. Locals love Freshy’s classic Fish ‘n Chips and the Salmon Po’boy to pair with a beautiful sunny day on their casual outdoor patio. Stop by on Tuesdays for their Taco Tuesday grilled fish taco special! Freshy’s Seafood Shack is located at 2411 76th Ave SE.
New Seasons Market
They say it’s best not to shop on an empty stomach; however, we love to shop hungry at New Seasons Market and enjoy our delicious finds on their ample outdoor patio. New Seasons Market has a huge prepared food section where you can get pre-made soups, grab-and-go items, or made-to-order sandwiches, stir-fries, and more. Their patio is a lovely, shaded spot to meet up with friends for an iced coffee or a casual bite to eat on a warm summer day. New Seasons Market is located at 2755 77th Ave SE.
Mercer Island Farmers Market
With all of the delicious smells of fresh-cooked food from food trucks and vendors, walking around the Farmers Market can make you hungry. The market is interspersed with casual round and rectangular tables topped with colorful table cloths and fresh flowers. They create welcoming spots to enjoy a bite eat (or an ice cream cone) along with live music. The Mercer Island Farmers Market is open Sundays, 10 am to 3 pm, from June through October and is located at the north end of Mercerdale Park.
Picnic Tables on Mercer Island
At many of the playgrounds and parks on Mercer Island, you’ll also find picnic tables! Pack your picnic basket with sandwiches and snacks, and spend the day at one of the Luther Burbank Park’s picnic table spots. There are three different areas to visit, and you can even rent them out if you’d like to reserve these spots for a party. With a great view of the Cascades, the Aubrey Davis Park Picnic Shelter is also a great place for a large gathering, with enough seating for 64 people, three barbecues, and electrical outlets. These parks can be rented out from Memorial Day to Labor Day (exceptions can be made for Aubrey Davis Park). Luther Burbank Park is located at 2040 84th Ave SE. Aubrey Davis Park is located at 72nd Avenue SE & SE 22nd Street Park Overpass.
Have we missed your favorite outdoor dining spot? Let us know in the comments!