Check, Please: Outdoor dining

  • Updated: May 11, 2013 - 6:07 PM
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Karl Adalbert sat with friends Kelsi Giswold and Carolyn Tuohy in the patio area at Icehouse last summer.

Photo: CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com,

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Take a seat on the lively stretch of Uptown sidewalk outside Lucia’s, where owner Lucia Watson has been changing her seasonal, locally focused lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menus on a weekly basis for 28 — yes, twenty-eight — years. A handful of tables are for customers dropping in on Watson’s excellent counter-service cafe and bakery.

1432 W. 31st St., Mpls., 612-825-1572, www.lucias.com

At Mill Valley Kitchen, the lovely dining room is a tough act to follow, looks-wise. But the restaurant’s pretty patio manages to stand up to its indoor competition. The kitchen cooks with a health-conscious touch, and service is attentive and accommodating.

3906 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-358-2000, www.millvalleykitchen.com

The patio outside Icehouse nudges up to a handsomely landscaped, only-in-Minneapolis plaza (its most talked-about features are granite blocks, salvaged from the rubble of the long-gone Metropolitan Building). At lunch, look for scrupulously prepared sandwiches and salads, and dinner means pretty small plates and inventive, eclectic entrees. Weekend brunch, too.

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