Best Places to Eat Outside in Syracuse & CNY

We’re finally in the heart of summer. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been waiting for this day since the first snowfall of last year (I’m not exaggerating, I still can’t figure out how it’s possible to hate a place so much half the year and love it so much the another). While summer means endless Green Lakes trips, The Fair, Taste of Cuse, Amphitheater concerts and rosé, by far my favorite thing to take advantage of during these few short months is dining outdoors.

I’ve put together quite the stockpile of places to eat over the years, and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share them with you all – the summer is still young (shh, I’m trying to be optimistic), and many of these places are just as beautiful during fall. Below are my favorites, as well as the spots I’ve yet to hit myself. Maybe you can beat me to it 😏

WARNING: The content below contains a high number of photos of me with a glass of wine in hand. I would like to take this moment to note that I do, in fact, drink other beverages. Thank you.

Best places to eat outside:


My favorite secret garden patio oasis. There are truly not enough words to express my love for you Francecas. Ambiance: 10/10. Drinks: 10/10. Food: 10/10. There is not a single meal I have had here that hasn’t been incredible. But if you’re really looking to cry tears of foodie happiness, go for the filet mignon and a glass of cab.


Brian’s Landing

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What a place. I’m almost hesitant to post about this one, but it seems this summer the cat was let out of the bag anyway. How I’ve been to Green Lakes the obnoxious number of times that I have in my life and never visited Brian’s Landing before age 24 is beyond me, but now I make it a point to go there as often as possible. Think I’m kidding? In May I went once a week for four weeks – one week, twice. Overlooking the lake on their back patio, nothing beats staring out at the bright blue water.

Pro tip: Get the cheese board. One of the best I’ve had in terms of taste and quantity.


Owera Vineyards

I love wine. There, I said it. It shouldn’t come as a shock. Not being able to drink beer and any dark liquors has converted me. I am a vino and as a vino, I love frequenting vineyards. Makes sense, right? One of my fav wineries is right down the road, and Owera never disappoints with their wine slushies, wine flights, wine ice cream and food menu, too.

Pro tip – There is always a pizza of the month, and that pizza is always delicious. But get the pizza to share. Clearly information we could have used (see above ^). Also they have a pretty damn good gluten free crust, which is hard to find.


Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard

A hometown favorite. I don’t care what time of year it is, Beak & Skiff has got you covered. A far cry from my first job in the U-Pick apple sheds, I’ll tell ya that. With their new concert series bringing in big names like X Ambassadors (still one of the best concerts I’ve been to, yet) and Lord Huron, paint nights, and obviously all the fall fun, the cafe provides a ton of great meal and snacking options that you can never go wrong pairing with a hard cider or mixed drink. Their patio and view overlooking the Otisco Valley doesn’t hurt for a solid photo opp, either.


The Loft at Vesper Hills

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Another hometown find. Many a Tuesday-night-happy-hour-after-golf-league spent here (don’t be fooled, I do not participate in the golfing, only show up for the drinks after). If you’re headed here, definitely come just before sunset, and definitely try the poutine. And yes, that is Otisco lake in the background. As far as views are concerned, you won’t be disappointed.


Empire Farm Brewery

Caz, you’ve done it again. I could go back and forth between Empire and Owera and never tire of the ambiance. Great food, great outdoor patio space, firepits for the evenings and lawn games for friends and family to gather. I’ve met many a long-distance friend here for a celebratory reunion drink, and it’s always a hit.


Lakeside Vista

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More a place for the ambiance and a drink, the food at Lakeside I’ve never been ~overly~ impressed with, but the views are incredible. I’m a sucker for any meal enjoyed while overlooking a lake, and with an expansive deck overlooking Otisco Lake (again), this hits the nail on the head. Plus, I hear it’s under new management so hey, keep an eye out on the cuisine-front.




Located up in Cicero on Oneida Lake, (surprise-surprise, more lakefront dining) Borio’s is a hot spot in the summer months. The only times I’ve ever been here were during graduation season, and it was PACKED. That never takes away from the overall experience, though. Plus, once again, #sunsets.


Apizza Regionale


So I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I’ve only eaten here during the winter months. But I pass by every day on my way to and from work, and from the smiles on people’s faces eating on the outside patio, I’d say the Apizza experience is only amplified in the summer. Great food, ✔️. Great location, ✔️✔️. I’ve been crushing just a bit on downtown Syracuse lately.

…and last but not least

Papa Gallo

You’ll find this Mexican delight in Fayetteville, across from town center. I have no photos to show you for this one, and I blame that on part of the reason I keep coming back here (aside from the queso) …they make their margs are STRONG. Highly recommend the baked stuffed avocado and the taco salad (it’s huge.) Happy dining 🍴


Plus a few honorary nominations for hot spots on bucket list that I have heard nothing but great things about:

  • Glen Haven
  • The York (new outdoor patio!)
  • Alex’s On The Water
  • The Channelside
  • Brewster Inn


What are your favorite places to get some fresh air, kick back w a cocktail and nom on some food? Let me know so my camera and I can go check them out!



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