Olivia Jewell Love
With the weather warming up, patio dining is once again in season. These three restaurants in Evergreen boast patio views, unique food and local drinks.
Creekside Cellars, located at 28036 Highway 74 in Evergreen, has been producing its own wine on site for over 20 years.
The winery uses only Colorado grapes in its wines, many of which come from its vineyard in Palisade. Eliot Zizic, the general manager, said Creekside is renowned for its wines.
“We have some of the highest rated wines in the state,” he said.
During this time of year, customers start filling up the winery, especially to enjoy lunch and wine on the patio by the creek. The outdoor deck can seat around 32 people.
For those unafraid of the cold conditions, Creekside Cellars keeps the patio open year round. Staff said they are happy to shovel out a place for customers to sit.
“People come with parkas and blankets and pillows and they’ll sit out there in a snowstorm,” Zizic said.
Besides the great views and local wine, Creekside is known for its antipasto platters, homemade focaccia bread and wine pairings to accompany meals.
“Our chef is awesome. He has specials everyday (and) he gets really creative with that,” Zizic said.
The winery also offers wine flights that include three different wines of the customer’s choice, and with constant attention and expertise, Zizic says the wines just keep getting better and better.
Cactus Jack’s Saloon and Grill
For a huge patio with live music throughout the spring and summer, look no further than Cactus Jack’s Saloon and Grill, located at 4651 Highway 73 in downtown Evergreen.
Cactus Jack’s takes full advantage of its patio space when the weather is warm, with regular dining during the week, trivia at 7 p.m. Wednesdays, open mic nights on Thursdays and a corn hole league starting June 14th at 6 p.m. Tuesdays.
One of the biggest draws of the patio, according to owner Megan Mitchell, is its live music performances.
“We’re starting our creekside music series, starting Memorial Day through Labor Day,” she said.
On Memorial Day, the restaurant will welcome the Dead Phish Orchestra to the patio venue.
Besides the entertainment, Cactus Jack’s also has a large food menu with burgers, tacos, fish and chips and more. The restaurant has an impressive drink menu, featuring summer favorites like margaritas made with fresh ingredients, and a menu of mocktails and lemonades. Cactus Jack’s even uses Daddy’s Homemade Syrup, a local business, as its cocktail syrups.
Mitchell said the restaurant plans to once again open a tent in its parking lot for more seating, and it is looking at the possibility of bringing in a food truck in the mornings.
Lariat Lodge Brewing Company
To get a taste of a variety of beers brewed on site, take a seat on one of the patios overlooking the canyon at Lariat Lodge Brewing Company, located at 27618 Fireweed Drive in Evergreen.
Lariat Lodge opened in 2015 and has been brewing beer ever since. The brewery has 12 beers on tap, all made in house, and they rotate with the season. Bartender and manager Courtney Hull said even the building itself is special.
“We’re in a historic building here in Evergreen," she said. "It was built in the 1930s."
The brewery offers two patios off the back of the building that overlook the canyon, a patio out front that usually holds overflow, and a catwalk/bar top also overlooking the canyon. The patios can hold around 80-100 guests all together.
Twice a year, Lariat Lodge updates its food menu. For summer, it has some lighter dishes like hummus, cobb salad, smaller sandwiches and more. The brewery also is offering new cocktails that are fruity, bright and thirst quenching.
Additionally, the brewery caters to dietary restrictions, offering nonalcoholic beers and gluten free beers and ciders.
All of the deck spaces at Lariat Lodge are dog friendly, and Hull hopes people can come out and have a drink after a day of hiking.
“People come with a good attitude ready to enjoy the beautiful weather and the beautiful view,” she said.