Hot Summer Dining Al Fresco Style in Downtown Aurora

It’s summer in the city, and there is no better way to embrace the steamy days and balmy nights than eating and drinking under the stars or the shade of an umbrella. In downtown Aurora, outdoor mingling, noshing, imbibing and river-watching is foremost in summer recreation. Whether it’s sipping a martini on Restaurant Row, or savoring a scotch-a-roo riverside, downtown has it made in the shade. Here’s an alfresco dining guide that will help you to beat the heat this season.

Restaurant Row
If it’s late night breezes you seek, then there is no better spot than West New York Street to quench your moonlit appetite. Try the rear deck at Ballydoyle (28 W. New York St., 630-844-0400) for beer battered fish and chips and Ballydoyle’s signature drink with Jameson Irish Whiskey and ginger ale. If an urban streetside experience is more your style, then grab a slice at Doughballs Pizza Palace (40 W. New York St., 630-844-5205). The specialty pizza shop sets out a couple of bistro tables by their small storefront just east of Ballydoyle. Venture across the street to Chef Amaury at 33 West (33 W. New York St., 630-375-0426) to escape the everyday and enter into a foodie paradise that is on par with the dining scene in New York City and Chicago. Sit out on the back deck and enjoy a plate of seasonal fruit and cheese or local veggies from Panda Grove Farms in Dixon. Ask your server what they recommend to accompany your food choices on the impressive beer and wine list.

There is a little more excitement this summer along the Fox River and it’s all the more reason to sit riverside and be entertained by bridge and park construction. River’s Edge Cafe (18 W. Downer Pl., 630-897-3343) provides a European feel with its elevated deck for dining or relaxing with a iced coffee beverage. The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch, as is Jake’s Bagels and Deli (220 N. Broadway, 630-906-0332) farther north of downtown also with a large, open deck that provides a front row seat to construction activity.

Grab some friends and order up a round of margaritas on the patio at La Quinta de los Reyes (36 E. New York St., 630-859-4000). Live mariachi music and fresh tableside salsa will have you all loving the heat index. There’s nothing like sitting outside at Two Brothers Roundhouse (205 N. Broadway, 630-264-2739) within an historic roundhouse, listening to live, local music and drinking local craft beers; it’s a summer must. If you just want to wet your whistle, then stop by Miss Lee’s Lounge (215 E. Galena Blvd., 630-906-6671) and step out back to a lush hidden beer garden.