It's Patio Season!



The period between when it's too cold to sit outside and dine in Nashville and the sweltering dog days of summer that drive many of the weaker ones of us indoors for the cool artificial atmosphere of a powerful A/C system is regrettably short most years. Add in that much of that temperate period is so pollen-laden that you might well worry whether that yellowish/green coating of dust on your al fresco meal could sprout before you finish eating, and it takes a brave soul to frequent some local verandas.

But April/May/June (the months, not Daisy Duck's nieces) are the sweet spot when it comes to outdoor dining. Rolf and Daughters is on top of the case and has recently opened up their 32-seat patio in front of their popular location at 700 Taylor St. When they first opened, I wondered why anyone would want to sit on that patio with nothing more than a view of a kinda grungy urban street. Then I realized that the homey neighborhood feel of the place combined with the absolutely top-notch food will make any extra seating appreciated.

I expect diners to concentrate more on the food and fellowship over the view anyway, and they'll create their own ambiance. Seating is for walk-ins only, so it's also utterly democratic. Chef Philip Krajeck has just released a new spring menu showcasing dishes like baby octopus with black garlic and pork belly, and rigatoni featuring beef sugo and horseradish. Check out the entire menu here. I tried the spaghetti carbonara with house pancetta, ramps and a yard egg on my last visit, and the dish made my toes curl! Fortunately, my favorite garganelli verde with a pork ragout made the cut for the spring menu.

Speaking of patios, one of my favorite fellow foodies in town, Ed King, is on a quest for dog-friendly patios. It seems he and his wife Sharon have fallen under the spell of a handsome young English Goldendoodle named Ollie, and the couple won't eat out if he can't join them. They are currently compiling a list of dining spots where Ollie is welcome.

I pointed them to a crowd-sourced dog list we did here a few years back, but it's probably time for an update.

So where's your favorite place to take Fido when you're eating and drinking? Besides Fido, of course ...

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