Friends & Family

Let outdoor-dining season begin

The man with the plan

Midwesterners sure know how to embrace the concept of dining al fresco. After being trapped inside for months, any wee bit of sunshine that graces us drives everyone straight to the restaurants that offer outdoor tables.

In Grand Rapids, though, those tables have a slightly different feel. I guess that after several years of frequenting the courtyards and tucked-away dining areas of Chicago (and that very cool one we discovered in Montreal during our honeymoon), it’s a change to do your fresh-air dining in a parking lot.

Not that I’m complaining. It’s certainly nice to find such an outdoor spot on a Friday afternoon. One where you can mix and mingle with pals, down a couple of cocktails — and some darn fine pizza — as the sun shines brightly in your eyes, and go coatless at least until the warm rays sink ever so slowly behind the nearest building.

It’s just a unique vibe to be sitting right on the Beltline with cars whizzing by, and the squat glass buildings that seem to sprout up in these types of environs looming in the background. That’s life in suburbia.