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Get outside…and eat! Top 25 outdoor patios in the dunes.


Photos by Chad Ulam. (Feature photo is Lucrezia, Crown Point)

It’s time once again for our list of our favorite patios! Thank you to all our social media followers for your votes and picks.


Here in the dunes, we love our summers. When the weather is nice, we want to be outside as much as possible – even while dining. So Dig the Dunes did a little research and found some of the best outdoor dining decks in the area (and we enjoyed every bite of it!).  There were so many to choose from that we couldn’t pick just 20 this year, so here we give you our top 25. Each of these offered something unique, delicious food & drink, and all a great experience. Read up…and eat up. Cheers!

(in no particular order)

  1. Lucrezia (Chesterton & Crown Point). Want to feel like you are dining in an Italian trattoria? Lucrezia is where to go! Amazing Italian food, delicious drinks (half priced wine bottles on Mondays!) and an intimate and beautiful garden (at both locations!) where you can enjoy your meal.

  2. 100 Washington (Michigan City). This outdoor patio overlooks the Michigan City harbor. See the iconic lighthouse as you dine on fresh fish, pizzas, salads, sandwiches and more created by chef Cheryl Bernacchi. Watch the amtrak roll by as you sip a martini, cocktail or craft beer. DF

  3. Duneland Pizza (Chesterton). Enjoy your pizza on an outdoor deck and head to Duneland Pizza!  This long standing pizza parlor is known for their delicious pizzas. The deck is casual, comfortable, and the perfect spot to watch folks stroll down Broadway.

  4. Fiddlehead (Michigan City). Located right in the heart of the uptown arts district, Fiddlehead is in the perfect spot to do some serious people watching! Head down on a First Friday, grab a table located in the front of the restaurant and enjoy dinner and drinks while watching the crowds pass by. DF

  5. Fire & Water (Michigan City). At Fire and Water you can sit right along the sand or on the rooftop deck for dinner and a sunset. This is a concession stand and a whole lot more. The upstairs bar has a full cocktail menu and offers many fun events including beer and wine fests, live music and Thursday night social hour. Try their Cabo’s Champagne Cooler! (want to skip the parking fee? park at the yacht club general parking and walk over)

Fire and Water, Michigan City

  1. Matey’s (Michigan City). It’s always a party at Matey’s! Choose from one of the many decks to perch atop Michigan City and watch the cars and people walk by. Matey’s is open late night, offers a full menu, lots of drink specials and music.

  2. Lemon Tree (Chesterton). Looking for a quick meal to enjoy outside? Head to Lemon Tree. This unique spot offers mediterranean fare that you order at a counter. Pick your meat, veggies or fixings, grab a soda or beer and head on out. The deck offers a great view of bustling Chesterton and the food is delicious. DF

  3. Villa Del Sol (Merrillville).  Feel like you are in Mexico on their patio of Villa Del Sol! Many say it’s one of the best in the area. Enjoy a margarita by the fire pit or a taco el fresco. DF

  4. Wagners Ribs (Porter). Wagner’s deck is tucked out back and many don’t even know it’s there! Once you walk outside, you feel like you are in a different world. Enclosed, it’s a large space, yet remains cozy. The ribs are delicious and there’s always a great beer on tap.

  5. Bridges (Michigan City). At Bridges you can hang out on the deck and watch the historical Amtrak Bridge turn when the train comes. There is also an amazing selection of beer, great food and downstairs the kids can even feed the ducks! DF

  6. 54 Main Bistro. (Hobart). Enjoy your meal at this quaint victorian cottage that over looks the waterfront. Situated on Lake George, this patio is perfect with it’s farm to fork changing menu.

  7. Wells Street Beach (Miller). Located on the beach in Miller, this concession is a hidden gem. Find burgers, beer and a great place to sit and relax after taking a stroll down the beach. Lots to see, especially on weekends!

  8. Tree House Cafe (Michigan City). At Tree House Cafe, you are not just dining, you are playing! Volleyball nets, obstacles for kids, ping pong, whiffleball and an outside bar all make up this casual dining spot.

  9. Burn Em Brewing (Michigan City). We couldn’t leave Burn ‘Em out since their patio stays open all winter long! There’s just something so relaxing about hanging out back with a brew and a pretzel or some flatbread. If it’s a little chilly, don’t worry – they have a heated tent…even in January! DF

  10. Stray Dog (New Buffalo). Looking for some fun and a big crowd? Head to Stray Dog and hit the upstairs rooftop deck. It’s always a good time and the food hits the spot after a day at the beach. This place won by a landslide in our twitter poll.

  11. Bartlett’s Gourmet Grill (Beverly Shores). At Bartlett’s you will find casual dining, great drinks, and Buckin’ Good Bloody Mary’s. The outdoor deck is contained, comfortable and even has a children’s play area in the back so that adults can enjoy a quiet meal. DF

Bartlett’s Gourmet Grill, Beverly Shores

  1. Lost Marsh (Hammond). Many don’t realize that Lost Marsh is open to the public. There’s a beautiful patio that overlooks the golf course and is even available for special events. Burgers, salads and fun starters are just a few things on this menu.

  2. Brewster’s (New Buffalo). Brewster’s offers a quieter spot to eat in New Buffalo. The garden is gorgeous and the food is amazing. Want to impress your date? Head to Brewster’s!

  3. Bentwood Tavern (New Buffalo). Located in the Marina Grand Resort, Bentwood Tavern has a patio and rooftop that overlooks the New Buffalo Harbor. Enjoy artisan comfort cuisine crafted by local icon, Jenny Drilon.

  4. Shady Creek Winery (Michigan City). Relax out front or out back at Shady Creek Winery. Open Wednesday thru Sunday, this winery has beautiful grounds that overlook a pond and has a very nice selection of custom crafted wines and expanded menu that includes salads, sandwiches, pizzas and panini. DF

  5. Ivy’s Bohemia House (Chesterton).  Ivy’s Bohemia House has a wonderful eclectic menu and full bar which you can enjoy on their elevated deck that overlooks downtown Chesterton. Another great spot to people watch and relax in the sun. DF

  6. Valpo Velvet (Valparaiso). Many are familiar with Valpo Velvet ice cream but don’t realize they also have a great menu and outdoor area. Take the kids for sandwiches and ice cream and then stroll downtown Valpo. Everyone wants to eat ice cream outside! DF

A summer cocktail at Miller Bakery Cafe

  1. Miller Bakery Cafe (Miller). Tucked away behind the cafe is a secluded outside patio that is perfect for a date night. Enjoy some delicious food and top notch martinis at this well established Lake Street restaurant in Miller.

  2. Byway Brewing (Hammond). We love this open air brewery with garage doors that open up to an outdoor deck. Whether you are inside or outside the sunshine always shines in here. Enjoy delicious beer or food at this relatively new brewery in the area. DF

  3. Porter’s Downtown Strip (Porter). We couldn’t pick just one from this strip of spots in downtown porter. They all have outdoor seating, bags, and are open late! More of a bar scene, but something fun when heading out on a Saturday night. Choose from Santiagos, Village Tavern and more! DF

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Looking for photos for your family, restaurant, shop or business? Contact Chad Ulam. He will be in the Michigan City throughout the summer months.

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