The coronavirus has made the patio an essential restaurant asset.

“Right now, people are definitely way more comfortable sitting outside than inside,” said Patti Soskin, owner of Yum! Kitchen and Bakery in St. Louis Park and Minnetonka. “In Minnesota, we always want to be outside when weather permits. But this summer? Maybe we’re not quite as picky. If there’s a little drizzle, you’re happy getting under an umbrella.”

Patios look and operate slightly differently than they have in the past. Reservations are required. Capacity cannot exceed 250 people. Tables must remain at least 6 feet apart. Parties are limited to four, or six if all the diners are in the same household.

Soskin urges diners to follow the rules. She has posted signs amid the flower boxes on her patios, politely asking diners to play along.

“We’re strict, because we have to be,” she said. “We want people to be safe, and to feel comfortable.”

Cafe Lurcat and Bar Lurcat

Not one, but two well-appointed patios. One overlooks the green sweep of Loring Park, the other is a romantic back alley straight out of Montmartre. Bestsellers include the apple-cheese salad, crabcakes, miso-glazed sea bass or cinnamon-dusted mini-doughnuts. Dinner Tuesday through Saturday.

1624 Harmon Place, Mpls., 612-486-5500,

Dakota Junction

Park your bike (the restaurant is located on the Dakota Rail Regional Trail) next to a picnic table and hope that the ever-changing chalkboard menu includes a BLT made with tomatoes from nearby Gale Woods Farm, or a grilled manchego cheese sandwich with apples and fig jam. Fortunately, the kitchen’s signature sloppy Joe-like loose meat sandwich is always available. Great kids’ menu, too. Lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, lunch Sunday.

2281 Commerce Blvd., Mound, 952-479-1519

Esker Grove

At the Walker Art Center’s stylish restaurant, chef Sherzad Kordian is focusing on salads and sandwiches, along with a handful of entrees (salmon, rotisserie chicken) and a few snacks (fried shrimp, chicken wings), served on a patio overlooking the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Another option: Order takeout, and enjoy a picnic on the museum’s sloping lawn. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

723 Vineland Place, Mpls., 612-375-7542,

Hope Breakfast Bar

This improvised patio takes over the street in front of the restaurant, and it’s a lively platform for exploring the kitchen’s inventive approach to a.m. favorites. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Hope’s outdoor space is shared with neighboring Café Astoria (180 Grand Av., 651-340-9471,, a coffeehouse with a long line of crêpes, oatmeal bowls and salads.

1 S. Leech St., St. Paul, 651-330-8996,

Kendall’s Tavern & Chophouse

The spacious, umbrella-lined patio overlooks the golf course, and it’s the place for clubby classics, including chicken pot pie, mac-and-cheese with andouille sausage, Cobb salads, patty melts, fish and chips, half-pound burgers and more. Lunch and dinner daily.

12800 Bunker Prairie Road NW., Coon Rapids, 763-755-1234,


This All-American chop house, which is approaching its 35th birthday, is turning out prime rib, a French dip sandwich, bacon-Cheddar cheeseburgers, crab-artichoke dip, Caesar salad, Key lime pie and other classics. Lunch Monday through Friday, dinner daily.

8400 Normandale Lake Blvd., Bloomington, 952-921-2255,

Lat14 Asian Eatery

Take a seat on the great-looking patio or under a big tent. Chef/owner Ann Ahmed is offering a number of her don’t-miss dishes, including crispy pork eggrolls, Instagram-worthy spring rolls and whole fried snapper in a red coconut curry broth. Dinner Wednesday through Sunday.

8815 7th Av. N. Golden Valley, 763-400-7910,

The Lexington

Grand Avenue’s dining grande dame has a well-appointed rooftop patio, and it’s a sunny venue for chef Jack Riebel’s Creole-style peel-and-eat shrimp, walleye cakes, a gorgeous lobster roll, coffee-rubbed tenderloin kebabs and a playful banana pudding/vanilla wafer parfait. Dinner Wednesday through Sunday.

1096 Grand Av., St. Paul, 651-289-4990,

Porter Creek Hardwood Grill

This sprawling, well-appointed patio is a fine showcase for enjoying the kitchen’s main event — rotisserie chicken — in a wide range of dishes, including salads, pastas, sandwiches and a half-chicken dinner with vegetables and roasted potatoes. On Tuesday, select bottles of wine are slashed to half-price. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

14201 Burngarten Drive, Burnsville, 952-698-1888,

Rudy’s Redeye Grill

The menu at this spacious rooftop patio covers a lot of ground, from fish and chips to grilled meatloaf to a half-dozen burgers to a Greek-style chicken salad. Drop in on Wednesday evening for a $20 walleye dinner, and check out the daily happy hour specials, available 3 to 6 and 9 to 11 p.m. Lunch and dinner daily.

4090 N. Hwy. 61, White Bear Lake, 651-653-6718,

Salut Bar Américain

Indulge in a long list of bistro classics, including a Nicoise salad, onion soup blanketed in gooey cheese, escargots in garlic- and herb-scented butter, a croque monsieur (and a madame), steak frites and crème brûlée, on a roomy, handsomely appointed patio. Dinner daily.

917 Grand Av., St. Paul, 661-917-2345,

The Sample Room

This Northeaster is marking its 18th birthday, and why not celebrate on the newly expanded patio? Snack on a meat-and-cheese board, or cheese curds with a blue cheese sauce. Larger plates include an exceptional Reuben, grits with blackened shrimp or a BLT with smoked tomato aioli. Dinner Wednesday through Sunday.

2124 NE. Marshall St., Mpls., 612-789-0333,

3 Squares

Take a seat under the pergola for all-day breakfast (spinach-Brie frittata, eggs Benedict, French toast), tacos (blackened tilapia with black bean-corn salsa, Korean-style barbecue beef with kimchi), a beauty of a beet salad, beer-battered cheese curds, tuna poke and other eclectic fare. Lunch and dinner daily, breakfast Saturday and Sunday.

12690 Arbor Lakes Pkwy., Maple Grove, 763-425-3330,

Waldmann Brewery and Wurstery

The brewery’s pretty biergarten is an ideal fresh-air backdrop for the kitchen’s excellent sausages (and a first-rate hot dog from Peterson Craftsman Meats), a smoked fish plate (trout and salmon from Morey’s in Motley, Minn.), pastrami sandwiches, chewy pretzels (from Aki’s BreadHaus in northeast Minneapolis), hearty sauerbraten and other beer-friendly fare. Check out the live music schedule, and don’t skip the lovely strudels. Lunch and dinner daily.

445 Smith Av., St. Paul, 651-222-1857,

Yum! Kitchen and Bakery

Owner Patti Soskin’s green thumb (actually, she credits Katrina’s Gardens in Buffalo, Minn., for the patios’ profusion of flowers) ranks right up there with her sixth sense of knowing what people love to eat: chicken salad sandwiches on toasted, house-baked challah; lobster-stuffed club sandwiches; gazpacho; and a doozy of a chocolate layer cake slathered with vanilla buttercream frosting. The coconut cake with seven-minute icing is also not to be missed. Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

4000 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-922-4000, and 6001 Shady Oak Road, Minnetonka,