This edition of Patio Quest 2010 is brought to you by the east side of Wichita. Grab a beer and relax. It’s patio time.

Old Chicago (7626. E Kellogg, 67207)
Like I said in the Old Town review, I would sit on Old Chicago’s patio no matter what part of Wichita I’m in. They always have friendly service, it’s always clean, and the east OC has devoted a lot of real estate to its patio. The view, unfortunately, is of my most despised stretch of road in Wichita – the mess that is the on-ramp to West Kellogg from Rock, which I lovingly call, “Who dreamed up this mess?” I suspect it’s not Old Chicago’s doing, but that doesn’t make it any quieter. Regardless, I urge Old Chicago patio sitting. And since this is the patio closest to my house, give me a call if you want company!

Playa Azul (360 N. Rock, 67206)
If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now: The path to my heart is paved with the glorious combination of ice-cold beer, chips and queso, and a patio. OK, give me two out of three and I’m pleased. All three, and I’ll throw confetti and dance a jig. The good news is Playa has friendly, prompt service, the food is amazing, the beer’s cold, and they have margarita specials. There are actually two patio areas. One is a balcony, and the other is ground level. The bigger tables are on the lower level, and there’s a bar across the balcony level, which would be great for alone patio time. Neither offers much of a view, and Rock Road traffic can be a little loud. Despite this minor setback, I’d dig it. Aye! Aye! Aye!

Larry Bud’s (2120 N. Woodlawn, 67208)
Attention spring and summer sports fans! Larry Bud’s is the spot to watch a game without interrupting quality patio time. There are TVs and ceiling fans, and it’s decorated to feel homey and comfortable. The patio is covered, which not only helps create shade in the hotter months, but hopefully ensures you can see the TVs during the brighter parts of the day. The night we were there, we even enjoyed some live music. I’m not a huge fan of the picnic tables, but there are plenty of traditional tables and chairs. I give Larry Bud’s two flat screens up!

Il Vicino (4817 E. Douglas, 67218)
Even though I’m not much of a wine drinker, I love having a glass (or six. OK, not really six. Don’t worry, Mom!) on Il Vicino’s patio. I love the part of town, and even though the view is of a street, I consider Douglas a good view. You can even eat some of the most delicious pizza you’ll ever dig your teeth into, if your heart desires. And my heart normally does. The patio’s always clean, and there are umbrellas for shade. I always pay for my drinks one at a time because of their “pay before you eat” setup, so I’m not sure if you can open a tab. I’m sure it’s possible, but if it’s not, that’s the only downside. But bottom line: I love the place. And I think you will, too.

Most of my friends and family live out west, so I spend a majority of my time on the west side of town even though I live and work on the east side. Because of my limited experience, I know I’ve missed a lot of places. What’s your favorite?


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