Dirty Dinners

Al Fresco Fabulous Four
Savor the Freedom of Dining Outdoors

One of the joys of this time of year is dining outdoors. Whether under a beautiful sun or a blanket of twinkling stars, when you give yourself the treat of patio dining you feel like you’re on a mini-vacation. You relax with good friends, good food and oftentimes good wine, all on a picturesque patio. Many Montgomery County restaurants offer outdoor dining.
Here is our fab four patio dining sampler.

The Bench
Gaithersburg Marriott Washingtonian Center
9751 Washingtonian Boulevard
Gaithersburg, 301-590-0044

Newly opened this April, The Bench at Gaithersburg Marriott Washingtonian Center pairs lakeside patio dining with iconic American cuisine prepared with a modern flair. Executive
Chef Aaron Tootill, who opened the Fire & Sage restaurant at Washington Marriott at Metro Center, spent months developing the new menu. “It’s like an episode of Chopped,” he says. “We start with about 100 ideas, then narrow them to 20.”

The Bench signature offerings are roasted yellow pepper and crab soup, Flying Dog Pale Ale battered fish n’ chips, and local craft beers on tap. Tootill is passionate about using regional

Overlooking the lake at RIO, the patio gives you an expansive view of activities—paddleboats, pedestrians, ducks and geese—without putting you in the thick of things. After relaxing at The Bench, if you feel like a little excitement, you can always walk over to the paddleboat dock where live bands jam every Friday and Saturday night.

MoCo’s Founding Farmers

12505 Park Potomac Avenue
Potomac, 301-340-8783

If the idea of a city garden excites you, then you’ll love dining outdoors surrounded by MoCo’s Founding Farmers Living Green Wall. You’ll find an abundance of native and hearty plants, succulents and other species—the perfect complement to Founding Farmers’ true food. In fact, this summer the small herb garden in front of the main entrance will be more robust than ever, growing regional vegetables in addition to the herbs. While the harvest will be small, you might just find the “fruits” of this container garden garnishing your cocktail. Mixologists pride themselves on making as much as possible on site. This includes “Farmacy” sodas that are made from scratch with all natural sweeteners.

The Comus Inn at Sugarloaf Mountain
23900 Old Hundred Road
Dickerson, 301-349-5100

For a breathtaking view, you couldn’t do better than the patio at The Comus Inn. Partially covered during summer, its slate expands out back, encircling a bubbling fountain and offering the blue-green panorama of rolling farmland and Sugarloaf
Mountain. Spring and summer bring live music and dancing to the patio. Why not enjoy a mojito, martini or pitcher of sangria and relax as the sun sets.

Old Angler’s Inn
10801 MacArthur Boulevard
Potomac, 301-365-2425

For true enchantment, head to Old Angler’s Inn. By day, the patio is lit by sun filtered through the trees. By night, garlands of white lights and an open fire pit add romance. The restaurant, established in 1860, has long been a Potomac tradition, but two years ago its menu was almost completely redesigned by Chef Nick Palermo. Today, American favorites like fresh steak and seafood, pasta and salad are served with a modern twist as casual and fine dining.

Don’t miss the heated Beer Garden, opening for the season on May 1. Located out back, it’s a favorite weekend gathering spot for those hiking or biking along the C&O Canal. Patrons can order grilled items off the menu and drinks, watch games and more on two flat screen TVs, and listen to live music on select nights.


Montgomery Writes

WHERE ARE YOU?You need to get off the beaten path to find this piece of Montgomery County history, but the red sandstone should be your first clue. Photograph by Ryan Cogswell

One winner will be randomly selected from all correct answers received by May 10.
Jono Sirovatka of Bethesda recognized the bridge over the Fishladder Channel of the Potomac between Olmstead Island and the C&O Canal and wins the framed print.
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