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We heard boats whirring through the river, water lapping the shoreline and American flags rustling in the breeze during a recent lunch at Lumberjack's Patio Grill. The seasonal North Tonawanda restaurant boasts a spacious deck overlooking the Niagara River. There, with oldies and reggae music playing in the background, we basked in the sunshine, enjoying that most glori…

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There are few things more gratifying than the combination of clear skies, hot sun and a fresh pint. As Buffalonians, I think you’ll agree that we don’t have enough great weather, so we have to make the most of it while we can. One way is to spend time on the many picturesque outdoor spaces attached to breweries. Now is the time to don your hottest sunglasses and fres…

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Now boasting the biggest beer garden on Hertel Avenue, the Garage Café’s newly opened patio, dubbed the Wrecking Yard, has made it through the bodywork and is ready to hum. The fledgling Garage Café that’s garnered an avid following with homestyle meals and decadent breakfast options has blown out the back door and effectively doubled its footage with the addition of th…

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Fat Bob’s Smokehouse doesn’t need a business rebranding. The Allentown favorite boasts a Texas roadhouse vibe; sauce-slathered ribs, beef and brisket for Buffalo’s barbecue tastes; and a craft draft and bottled beer list as competent as its contemporaries. If you already love hunkering down in the joint for a hot slab and cold stout during the city’s fall and winter,…

Food and Drink

Buffalonians have plenty of places to hide during the city’s inclement months. Darkened whiskey slings and mood-lit martini bars. Cramped corner pubs with Bills game beer specials, and family staples serving a heralded fish fry. These are the joints people pile in during harsh weather, and the affinity for such huddled revelry gives credence to Buffalo’s claim as the Ci…

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Dave Barbara has a case of “patio anxiety” these days. As owner of Cecelia’s Ristorante on Elmwood Ave., he is anxious to open the patio, but at the same time, he knows it’s a long process that must wait until May. If it’s done properly, he will see twice the volume at the restaurant and must be prepared to handle it. There’s no need for patrons to worry though – you…

Buffalo

La Tee Da Cafe, the cozy Allentown dining spot with a popular back patio that opened nearly a decade ago, will close Saturday, according to a Facebook post from server Emily Nugent.Nugent is a member of the family that owns La Tee Da. Her sister and fellow La Tee Da employee Lindsay Quick confirmed the closure in a phone interview on Friday afternoon.Quick described the cl…

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AcQua changed its game plan for the summer to offer a more casual dining experience. The good news is guests can still enjoy the upscale feel. The lovely patio is an extension of the dining room, with tables both in the sun and under cover. A decent-sized gorgeous tiled patio bar (under cover) runs along one side with seating for a few patrons. Several bar tables are scatt…

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Santora’s Pizza Pub & GrillWhere: 7800 Transit Road, Amherst (634-6000, santoras.com)Hours: 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.Scene: Suburban escape on busy Transit Road.Patio: Covered bar with fire pit area, couch seating in the sun, two dining sections.Dress: Flip flops to wedge sandals. Bar: Featured beers of the mont…

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Soho Burger BarWhere: 64 Chippewa St. (856-7646, sohoburgerbar.com)Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. Bar open later.Scene: Rooftop revelry overlooking the Chip Strip.Patio: Two patios offer dining and hangout opportunities.Dress: City chic with a summer flair.Happy Hour: Happy Hour is 3 to…

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Big Ditch Brewing Co. is one of downtown Buffalo's newest hangout havens, a two-story space at the corner of East Huron and Ellicott whose garage-door walls open to the breeze on temperate days. That has helped keep it packed on summer evenings. The fact that the place serves a half-dozen or more beers brewed on premises doesn't hurt. When I stopped by for dinner recently…

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Can this really be the last full weekend of July? (And can we get a refund on those rainy days?) Rule No. 58 of Western New York summer: That last home and garden project can wait. As a public service announcement, we urge you to visit as many patios as you can before Mother Earth tilts us back from the sun. [See a photo gallery of Buffalo.com's featured patios] Here a…

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Now that word "snow" is appearing less and less in the weather forecast, and it might be safe to finally put away your shovel, it's time to consider the next obvious question: When is my favorite seasonal restaurant going to open? Here are 14 answers. 1) Dug’s Dive, 1111 Fuhrmann Blvd. NOW OPEN. But this will be the last year the Small Boat Harbor spot will be at this l…

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McKenzie’s Bar & Grill, 4151 Lake Shore Road, Hamburg, closed Jan. 10. After an intense week-long makeover blitz, it reopened Friday as Lucia’s on the Lake. “The painters were leaving at 2:30 and we opened the doors at 4,” said Jay Pasquarella, who owns the place with Angelo Canna Jr. “It happened very quickly.” Pasquarella previously owned Lotis on Delaware Avenue, w…