9 Shaded and Socially Distanced Restaurant Patios in Sugar Land
Although I was born and raised in Houston and still spend a great deal of my time enjoying all that the big city has to offer, I have now lived in Sugar Land for over 20 years. During that time, I’ve eaten at many area restaurants — including those with excellent patio dining. In addition to good food and service, all of the ones listed below offer good shade, outdoor seating and are doing a great job at keeping both their guests and employees safe during this COVID-19 summer.
Aling’s, 6542 US Alt 90: This one of a kind Indo-Chinese establishment has a fully covered side patio that is shaded from lunch through dinner and outfitted with glass partitions for enhanced social distancing. It has enjoyed steady curbside business and gone over and beyond with safety precautions since the Governor allowed dining rooms to reopen in May. In addition to following all rules for social distancing in both the kitchen and dining room, Aling’s also requires guests to remain in their car while waiting for a table, have six-foot distance markers in the walkways and maintain a seating capacity of only 35% instead of the allowed 50%. A stay-cool choice for patio dining is the fresh lime soda made with Topo Chico alongside Kung Pao Chicken or vegetable noodles. If you are feeling up to embracing the heat with some of their spicier options, choose the Manchurian-style beef, shrimp or chicken to discover the hot and savory side of their Hakka cuisine.
Beck’s Prime,1822 Highway 6 South: Since 1985, this locally owned and operated chain has been a great choice for drive-through burgers in greater Houston. However, the Sugar Land location is set back on Highway 6 in a park-like setting on the water, making it an outstanding outdoor patio destination. The side deck is on a wooded patch of land that gives it full shade for afternoon dining. Aside from the always-fresh, never-frozen, 100% Angus beef burgers, this casual grill also serves up salads, seared tuna and chicken with grilled vegetables. With plenty of room to move around and distance from strangers, this spot is ideal for families. Beck’s Prime also has various kids’ meals and ridiculously thick milk shakes to help beat the heat.
Churrascos, 1520 Lake Pointe Parkway: Another locally created chain that is also on the water, this patio is fully shaded for lunch and weekend brunch, and mostly shady in the evenings. It is one of the most scenic places in Sugar Land for watching the sun set. Though the Latin American menu has been simplified since reopening, it still features a wide mix of cuisine, ranging from light and cool appetizers such as ceviche to hearty dishes like chimichurri beef tenderloin. The patio is elevated next to the walkway, and with the good selection of wine, beer, and cocktails, it is easy to beat the heat while enjoying the view.
Corelli’s, 3229 Highway 6 at Williams Trace: Located on a busy corner, the protective brick wall of this grotto-style patio, coupled with the wisteria-covered trellis above, provides an escape from the surrounding neighborhood traffic. This café has been a Sugar Land mainstay for over twenty years, serving up housemade, crunchy, Parmesan-dusted breadsticks as a free complement to the classic Italian cuisine. With a menu featuring salads, pizza, pecan-crusted salmon and grilled pork chops, there is something for all tastes. The wine list boasts dependable options to match the fare with a few surprises as well, and guests are also allowed to bring their own bottle for a $12 corkage fee.
Escalante’s, 15933 City Walk: Situated on a prime corner in Town Square, this locally owned Tex-Mex chain has a wraparound patio that ensures guests can always find a shady spot to sit outside by day, and enjoy great people-watching at night. The area has wrought iron gating and landscape containers surrounding the outside dining area to protect it from those passing by, as Sugar Land Town Square is not requiring masks outside of businesses. Lighter cuisine can be found on the Fit-Mex menu with top picks being Pescado Fresco or the Steak Asado — which saves some calories so you can enjoy a cold bottle of Mexican cerveza or a frozen Margarita with it.
Guru Enlightened Burgers and Bowls, 2268 Texas Drive: Also located in Town Square, this small shop is a one-of-a-kind Sugar Land exclusive featuring a varied menu that has long included Angus beef burgers in both regular and slider size as well as sweet and savory crepes. The owners have also been supporters of local craft beer since opening and this summer have added a full poke bowl menu as well as a build-your-own option. There is a large printed menu hanging on the patio to make ordering easy or view it up close on your phone through the QR code found on the tables. This patio is set back from the walkway and is fully covered. Guru is not seating either the patio or the inside to full capacity to allow for better social distancing.
Keeper’s, 4654 Hwy 6: This Sugar Land-exclusive Japanese restaurant and bar has been serving the city for almost ten years and is a leader in safety precautions as well. In addition to the following the required Open Texas protocols, the restaurant also takes temperatures of staff and guests at the host stand. The staff has removed chairs from both the sushi and liquor bars and added partitions between the booths. They also sanitize all pens and check presenters between each use and are limiting seating to 32% of the allowed capacity. To keep patio guests comfortable, Keeper’s has low-blowing cooling units that ventilate at knee level under the tables. The menu has an assortment of nigiri, sashimi, signature sushi rolls and other fresh seafood, all perfect for light dining in the summer. Happy hour specials run all day, every day.
Pappasito’s, 13750 Hwy 59 South: Though this patio is located alongside one of the city’s major freeways, it still manages to offer a respite. Surrounded by tropical landscaping, this fully covered deck is shaded from lunchtime through dinner and has carefully spaced fans keeping the area refreshed. With some different offerings on the lunch menu and the Tex-Mex dinner menu available all day, an array of choices from lighter taco plates to mixed grill combination platters can be found. Add an order of guacamole and an icy margarita to stay cool throughout your meal.
State Fare, 15930 City Walk: The second location of this Memorial-area favorite opened in Town Square this summer with patios lining two sides of the building allowing guests more opportunities to find a shady seat outdoors. At dinnertime, both sides are in full shade. The outdoor seating is also blocked off with planters full of greenery to keep the foot traffic out of the dining space. This restaurant has slightly altered offerings for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, along with a weekday Happy Hour menu served from 3-6 pm. Multiple salad options and the tuna tartare are the stay fresh outside options while the half pound burgers, H-town Hot Fried Chicken or the fried seafood platter will more than satisfy the hungry. Add an egg to the avocado and street corn toast for a healthy brunch and don’t miss the Smoked Ribs, Brisket Firecrackers and Texas Caviar at Happy Hour served alongside a specially priced drink menu.