By Grant Gierhahn ‘20

In the midst of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, our support for local businesses, particularly restaurants, is paramount. All eateries, both big and small, have been forced to drastically adjust their operation strategies. The traditional dining experience has, unfortunately, gone on an involuntary hiatus for over a month now, due to social-distancing mandates.

Anyone who knows me well definitely grasps my deep appreciation for BBQ grub, especially from Chicagoland’s The Patio. The mouthwatering, neighborhood chain has six restaurants, located in Bridgeview, Darien, Orland Park, Lombard, Bolingbrook and Aurora.

For good reason, I’ve ordered the same meal every time at The Patio of Bridgeview establishment: their half slab special with a baked potato trounced in butter and sour cream, coleslaw, french bread and a medium Mountain Dew (complimentary refills). To say I have my order down pat would be an understatement. Not to mention, The Patio’s BBQ sauce complements its ribs superbly, creating an irresistibly delicious combination that competitors have frankly failed to adequately counter.

Despite being open for takeout and drive-thru orders, loyalists of The Patio have missed the restaurant’s habitual dining experience immensely.

To illustrate, bright, impressive windows embellish the walls of the central dining area, encapsulating the beauty of the outdoors. Furthermore, since it’s a self-seat, self-order enterprise, this style can potentially save patrons a few extra bucks when compared to some alternatives. Perhaps most notably, upon a customer’s departure from the restaurant, he/she has the option to redeem a free ice cream cone by showing their respective lunch/dinner receipt to the cashier. I, of course, fully exploit this perk, electing a swirl cone on nearly every occasion.

I could go on and on.

Drive-thru and takeout simply don’t do The Patio justice. To say the least, I can’t wait to eat at The Patio when this pandemic is finally over. A fulfilling meal has been long overdue.