As I'm writing this, I am lounging in my lawn chair with an iced tea in my hand and music blasting. It's time for the sunshine to stay. I don't know about you, but I am the type of person who would rather sit outside at a restaurant than in a booth any day. So, I went around testing some of the local restaurants for quality food and fun atmospheres. After loosening a few notches on my belt and enduring multiple food comas, here are some of my top suggestions:
Yankee Jack's Public House:
I don't know how I have gone so many years without coming here, but man I love it now. Yankee Jack's has beautiful indoor and outdoor seating. Their menu is vast and has a café type feel. I tried out the Cuban sandwich which was packed with flavor and served with alongside equally impressive chips. Grab a couple of friends and relax on the patio of this fun and casual place.
Picture a big patio overlooking a river with fire pits and cozy couches. Now, go there and enjoy it. Seriously, Cowboy Jack's is one of the best places for relaxing with a drink in hand. I have been here a few times in the winter when you can sit on the enclosed patio, but nothing beats their completely outdoor patio. I recommend grabbing a drink and some apps and hanging out for a while. I tried their BBQ chicken sliders and chips with cheese which were a perfect snack to go along with my cold beer. This is one of the best ways to do summer, that's for sure.
Bug Eyed Betty's:
An EC classic that offers some of the best food also has plenty of outdoor seating. I have explored Betty's menu over the years and really enjoy their boneless wings, deep dish pizza and of course, beer. They do offer a plethora of outdoor seating, making this a great place for groups. Their full menu also makes this a crowd-pleaser.
5 & 2 Café:
I know this isn't technically a restaurant, but I thought I would throw it in there. This café is located in the Down to Earth Garden Center where you can explore the various gardening supplies and knick-knacks. This café is cute and full of eclectic decorations. It would be an excellent place to post up and connect to Wi-Fi to get work done. As the weather warms up, they are also opening their outdoor patio where you can sip on your coffee and enjoy the sunshine.
Smiling Moose Café:
Another more casual option is Smiling Moose Café. I would suggest coming for lunch and trying out one of their sandwich combos while sitting outside facing Phoenix Park. I think that this place is a budget-friendly option for anyone seeking a quick bite. I tried the Hiker's Harvest wrap which was packed with a light cranberry and vinaigrette flavor.
This is one of Eau Claire's best. The Lakely offers outdoor seating underneath a sea of twinkle lights for people to sit and enjoy live music and a drink. I mean, talk about a photo op! They offer a fabulous menu of drinks that are consistently changing but always delicious. This is a more mature place to enjoy dinner, and definitely a great option.
I am just the beginning to scratch the surface of all the places that Eau Claire has to offer, but I hope this gives you some guidance as you head out on your food journey. Whether you are looking for somewhere fancy, cheap, or casual, I hope this served as a guide to your inner Eau Claire foodie!
Don't forget to snap a pic and #CaptureEC to share with us your delicious discoveries!