Best restaurant patios: East Lansing

When the weather gets warm and campus is bustling with activity, grabbing a few friends and heading to a restaurant with an outdoor patio makes for a fun afternoon. As an incoming senior at Michigan State, and in the spirit of ranking the best restaurant patios of college towns in Michigan (I have to admit it was hard to read the Ann Arbor edition since I’m an avid Spartan fan), I have come up with a list of my favorite outdoor restaurants in East Lansing. After some collaboration with my foodie friends, along with comparing price, atmosphere and food deals, I have put together an ordered list of the best restaurant patios in one of my favorite cities, East Lansing.

6. Jimmy’s Pub– Located just two miles north of Michigan State’s campus, Jimmy’s Pub is home to a wide range of dishes, and several signature items including the Michigan Chicken Salad, Jimmy’s Original burger and the French Dip. Although the restaurant features 15 High Definition TVs, great for watching any sporting event, the outside patio is better for a warm sunny day. The best time to head to Jimmy’s Pub is Monday through Friday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. for one dollar drinks, or after 10:00 p.m. on weekdays for half off appetizers.

5. Reno’s Sports Bar– Open from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Sunday, this sports bar and restaurant maintains a commitment to buying local products and goods from Michigan based businesses. With menu items ranging from pizza, to grinders, to quesadillas, burgers, salads, chicken wings and much more, this restaurant has a little bit of everything. The reason this is one of my favorite places to eat is the unlimited fresh popcorn that is served prior to your meal, along with the huge outdoor patio. If you’re ever in the area be sure to check out this restaurant. I highly recommend the sampler platters…it’s just too hard to choose one appetizer sometimes.

4. El Azteco– This top pick of mine is located in the heart of Michigan State’s campus. Known for its authentic Mexican food, this restaurant has been a staple to MSU’s culture for 35 years. There are a variety of specials that feature meals under $6.50. My favorite aspect of this Mexican restaurant is the rooftop patio. The laid back outdoor environment is the perfect place to gather with friends to enjoy some authentic food and maybe even a margarita or two.

3. Dublin Square Irish Pub– One of the best aspects of this restaurant is it’s one of the only nice restaurants located right on Michigan State’s campuses. Surrounded by fast food cuisine, Dublin rests directly behind Grand River on Abbot Road. This restaurant is a great place to eat when your parents are visiting, or a fun bar to grab drinks with friends. Dublin is also a great place to host private parties. The enormous back patio overlooking East Lansing is the perfect setting for any afternoon, or on Wednesdays for half off dinner and drinks at anytime.

2. The Peanut Barrel– Perfectly located along Grand River Avenue in the heart of East Lansing, the Peanut Barrel is known for its patio, cheap food and good drinks. The line is usually out the door, but it is well worth the wait. Peanut Barrel features delicious sandwiches and tasty burgers. Ordering a side of peanuts is definitely a must. The restaurant and its quaint patio are staples to Michigan State’s campus. As soon as the weather gets nice, students immediately head over to the Peanut Barrel after class to grab a table outside.

1Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub– I’m not the only person in East Lansing that agrees Harper’s is one of the best (if not the best) places on campus to grab a meal or drinks with friends. In April, Harper’s was recognized as the best East Lansing Bar and the best place for happy hour specials on the 2012 “Best of MSU” list. The best day to go to Harper’s is anytime on Wednesdays for half off everything, or Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. Harper’s also features a huge outdoor patio area, perfect for enjoying a nice day or a cheap meal any day of the week.


Photo Credit: ktpupp



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