Outdoor Dining in Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands
Published June 2020
Sunny weather has arrived! When summer hits, and especially with the current climate, spacious outdoor dining areas are a great way to support locally-owned restaurants. Per current State of Ohio guidelines and best practices, dining (both indoor and outdoor) can occur with tables seating no more than 10 people in the same party, and spaced at least six-feet apart. Looking for local dining with outdoor patios, decks, or picnic tables? Here are a few of the many outdoor dining options just waiting for you in the Lake Erie Shores & Islands region.
ON THE MAINLAND
The Original Margaritaville, Sandusky – Known for its deck overlooking water falls from Cold Creek, this restaurant specializes in house-smoked barbeque and, of course, a variety of margaritas.
Bay Harbor Waterfront Dining & Famous Dave’s Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que, Sandusky – Both located at Cedar Point’s marina, these diverse eateries offer plenty of outdoor space overlooking the water. Famous Dave’s is a barbecue chain known for its meals served family style and Bay Harbor specializes in steaks and seafood.
Dockside Café, Sandusky – On the waterfront, overlooking Sandusky Bay, this popular spot offers counter service of delicious perch tacos, burgers, and quesadillas, along with specialty drinks to enjoy while watching beautiful sunsets.
Bait House Brewery, Sandusky – Operating from the historic Herb’s Bait Shop building, the Brewery features an old world “Shack by the Sea” feeling with hand-crafted beers, grilled burgers, brats, and hot dogs.
J Bistro, Sandusky – When you want an upscale dining experience with patio seating, J Bistro delivers. Steak, seafood, and pasta are featured dishes.
Erie Kai Tavern, Huron - Enjoy a cocktail on the patio while you take in the beautiful view of Lake Erie and taste specialties including flatbreads, sandwiches, wraps, and more.
Chez François and Touché Wine & Martini Bar, Vermilion – On the shores of the Vermilion River, this French gem offers gourmet eats, a relaxing waterside café atmosphere, and a wide-ranging wine list.
Twin Oast Brewing, Catawba – This craft brewery is located on a farm with rolling hills and amazing landscaping. With plenty of room to spread out and a new, mobile ordering system for food, Twin Oast is a great option for dining outdoors.
Hotel Lakeside Dining Room & Courtyard, Lakeside – Hotel Lakeside is celebrating 145 years in service, but is debuting this year under new leadership. The updated menu is inspired by the lake, and the dining experience is expected to be upscale but family-friendly.
Hidden Beach Bar, Marblehead – Come by land or by lake! This local favorite is known for its Lake Erie perch served on a sandwich, on tacos, or in a platter.
ON THE ISLANDS
West Bay Inn, Kelleys Island – Newly expanded, West Bay has an extensive deck overlooking Lake Erie on the island’s west end and is known as an excellent place for viewing sunsets, as well as for its ribs and chicken specialties.
Kelley’s Island Wine Co. and KI Cantina, Kelleys Island – The Kelley’s Island Wine Co. and KI Cantina share an extensive courtyard filled with picnic tables and lawn games. The winery also boasts a large covered porch serving small plates, sliders, and pizzas. KI Cantina offers a quick-serve taco and burrito counter with house-made salsas and guacamole.
The Boardwalk, Put-in-Bay – The Boardwalk family of restaurants is popular for its lobster bisque, but includes options for everyone, including the upscale Upper Deck and the concession-style Fish Shak or Book’s Seafood, among others with plenty of waterside deck seating.
Chicken Patio, Put-in-Bay – A local favorite features island wine-basted BBQ chicken cooked on an outdoor grill and serving on a large patio. An island tradition!
The Goat, Soup and Whiskey, Put-in-Bay – The Goat offers casual fine dining, with a farm-to-table focus. Many herbs and vegetables are served from their on-site gardens. In addition to the outdoor deck overlooking the gardens, there is also a Biergarten onsite with additional outdoor lawn seating.
The Keys, Put-in-Bay – The Keys offers Caribbean and South Florida favorites such as conch fritters, peel and eat shrimp, and key lime pie with a tiki-bar atmosphere and plenty of outdoor, waterfront seating. Also featured are “Fat Tuesday” premium tropical frozen drinks and many outdoor areas are pet-friendly.
To find a complete list of Lake Erie Shores & Islands restaurants offering outdoor dining options, click EAT on the top menu, then choose “Outdoor Seating” under “With this Atmosphere.” From there, you can narrow your selections by cuisine type and/or neighborhood.
Ohio's Lake Erie Shores & Islands
One of the Midwest’s hottest vacation spots, the region between Toledo and Cleveland provides an eclectic mix of historically significant sites, family-fun amusements, gorgeous scenery, and outdoor recreation.