Outdoor dining offers ambiance, safety in the Region

Outdoor dining offers ambiance, safety in the Region
By: Allison Tunstall Last Updated: July 30, 2020

Live music, engaging conversations, and the sounds of water lapping against the harbor at the mouth of Lake Michigan – this ambiance greets guests who make their way onto the outdoor patio of Bartlett’s Fish Camp, located in the historic and elegant Michigan City Yacht Club. Edison bulbs offer a calming ambiance as patrons enjoy their fresh seafood and craft beer and cocktails along the water, the perfect spot to watch as private and commercial vessels go by. It’s an opportunity to witness the union of a strengthening economy, unique culture and cuisine, and a beautiful scenery you can’t find anywhere else.

This is just one example of the many enjoyable outdoor dining experiences available in Northwest Indiana.

A South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority (CVA) member, Bartlett’s Fish Camp is one of many restaurants in the Region to offer a robust outdoor dining option for people looking to still enjoy their favorite restaurants and meals safely according to Indiana’s reopening and social distancing plans. While in-house dining at no more than 50 percent capacity is allowed in Indiana, many are choosing restaurants offering an outdoor dining experience.

The South Shore CVA has stepped up to help restaurants in the Region navigate the new set of regulations that will extend into the foreseeable future.

“The South Shore CVA staff updates our website, alongthesouthshore.com as we hear of restaurants offering dine-in, carryout and/or outdoor eating options,” said Erika Dahl, Director of Communications for the South Shore CVA. “Our restaurants have been very accommodating during the entire pandemic, offering creative take-home meals, curbside pickup and now more outdoor dining options.”

The circumstances have encouraged local restaurants and cafés to rethink their layouts and have inspired others to improve their outdoor ambiance with lights, plants, and patio-like settings for a more European feel. Other South Shore CVA members like Zorn Brew Works Co. in Michigan City offers a rustic, Old-World charm highlighted by string lights, greenery, and fire pits for a tranquil atmosphere that’s perfect for enjoying that local IPA or ale. Chesterton’s Lucrezia Café’s eclectic and colorful décor welcomes you when you first step onto the patio. The restaurant focuses on enhancing patrons’ experiences with comfortable furniture and a mix of colors that keep you in high spirits as you enjoy delicious Italian fare afternoon or night.

GreatNews.Life partner Blackbird Cafe gives coffee enthusiasts the chance to enjoy their cup o’ joe or housemade sandwiches in their quaint and comfortable outdoor space. With its perfect location on Lincolnway that offers views of Valparaiso’s bustling downtown life, Blackbird Cafe provides a comfortable vibe and outdoor seating where coffee lovers can catch whiffs of the delicious baking happening inside while waving to friends and acquaintances who happen by. GreatNews.Life longtime partner Culver’s offers the perfect umbrella-sheltered picnic place to slow down and relax with a Butterburger as the world speeds past you.

Kelsey’s Steakhouse underwent a renovation last year when they updated the indoor and outdoor dining areas, strengthening its dedication to providing a welcoming place for fine dining. The outdoor patio provides a comfortable place to enjoy a meal, with candles and elegant centerpieces that add to a high-end atmosphere. Valparaiso’s Industrial Revolution Eatery & Grille’s outdoor patio immerses you in the industrial revolution and steelworks, a unique way to merge cuisine and colorful local and state history.

This enhanced outdoor dining experience offers Region restaurants and patrons an opportunity to showcase the Region’s diverse atmospheres, along with its natural and modern views. With our proximity to Lake Michigan, the Indiana Dunes, urban and eclectic areas like our historic downtowns, restaurants have a unique chance to forge new connections with its very own community, all while allowing patrons to soak up some sun as they enjoy their meals outdoors. 

“When the weather permits, outdoor dining has been popular throughout the South Shore,” Dahl said. “Even before new regulations and limitations, dining al fresco provides a wonderful experience, exceptional views and opportunities to enjoy a beautiful day outside.”

For a complete list of South Shore CVA member restaurants, cafés, pubs, breweries, and wineries that are now offering outdoor dining, visit at https://www.southshorecva.com/restaurants/outdoor-dining/.