Outdoor Dining in the Triangle (‘tis the Season!)

Outdoor Dining in the Triangle (‘tis the Season!)

  • Red Collective
  • 02/2/22
No disrespect to summer, but these gorgeous fall days are really calling our name! Higher temperatures have slipped away with the change of the season and we've been greeted by cooler mornings and falling leaves to start the day. With crisp air and warm light, now is the perfect time to take advantage of the autumn weather; what better way to do so than to dine outdoors at one of the many amazing restaurants scattered across the Triangle. Here are a few of our favorite options to consider.

Finer Dining

Vin Rouge

Dreaming of the South of France? No travel necessary! From steak fries and fruits de Mer to traditional French Art Deco interiors, Vin Rouge provides all the classic cuisine and quaint village charm of Provence without any of the jet lag. On their bulb-lit patio, surrounded by flowers and herbs, dinner au dehors is intimate and unhurried. Fresh seafood, crisp air, and a bottle of wine to share; It’s not Marseille, but it sure feels close.


Tucked away on Lantern's heated open-air patio, you can get your fill of the fall sky along with a side of Lobster Tom Kai Gai. The house even provides wool blankets to keep guests warm on those particularly clear and chilly evenings. Brick-walled and ivy-climbed, with naturally finished logs and smooth stones offering to seat, we can see why they call it the Garden Patio. Mature potted trees branch out and up as rafters open to the sky and hanging globe light fixtures drop the moon just above your table. Whether you’re planning a family get-together or a quiet dinner with your person, this highly local and seasonal favorite will not disappoint.


Known for their traditional Tamil cuisine and high-quality service, at CholaNad providing a great dining experience is their number one goal—and if winning Chapel Hill Magazine’s Best of Chapel Hill 2020 Reader’s Favorite Award isn’t evidence of that, we don’t know what is. In addition to their vast menu of South Indian favorites (Samosa Chaat, Paneer Pakora, Chicken Dosa), they have multiple fresh-air dining options to choose from. Regardless of whether you end up sipping a Litchi Martini on the covered and heated indoor patio, watching the sunset through the open garage doors, or gazing at the outdoor mural, dal fritter in hand, you’ll have the best seat in the house.

Keeping It Casual

Hutchins Garage

San Marzano tomato sauce, a classic Margherita or pepperoni (or the rebel Fried Chicken Pie), housemade tiramisu, and twelve taps (that’s eleven craft beers or ciders and one prosecco on draft). Pair all of this with a spacious shade-covered patio and string lighting and you’ve got yourself the perfect casual November pizza night. You can’t go wrong with a local pizzeria that replaces parking with picnic tables and has a pie named “The Grandma.” It’s delicious.

Geer Street Garden

If you’re in the mood for some simple comfort food and room to relax, Geer Street Garden is the place to be. Their classic pasture-raised burger is a Durham standby, and their specials change with the season. Their list of french fry-dipping sauces may be too long to memorize but for over ten years they’ve been turning wholesome ingredients into local cravings that, like their patio, leave nothing to be desired. Covered, heated, and casual, their long picnic tables invite all party sizes to come as they are and feel right at home. And if dining with the masses is not your jam you can claim an open-air nook for a little more privacy.

Mediterranean Grill and Grocery

From tabouli to tahini, couscous to kofta, the Mediterranean Grill and Grocery is a hidden and delicious gem! Jot it down in your notebook, your iPhone Notes, or just on the palm of your hand as the perfect spot to pop in this week for a quick weekday lunch or leisurely dinner. With umbrellaed tables and chairs, the outdoor seating area is convenient and comfortable, a great spot to inhale (yep, that good) your gyro or falafel sandwich.

Guglhupf Bakery, Cafe, and Biergarten

Flowers may no longer be blooming, but at Guglhupf, the fall-inspired menu certainly is. Boasting some of the best pastries in town, Guglhupf is known by many as a destination for a sweet morning treat. But in addition to plum tarts and danishes, this kitchen pays homage to its German roots with a dinner menu that’s sure to inspire central European travel plans. We’re talking grilled bratwurst and spaetzle, pork schnitzel, charcuterie, and cheese plates to share, all on the wood-planked patio, under umbrellas and strings of bulbs and stars, in the cool autumn air, Biergarten-style

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At RED, we feel it is important to stay engaged with our community. That is why we are committed to prioritizing volunteer opportunities and also offer a portion of our annual sales income to local nonprofits in the Triangle. Please contact us to learn more.

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