Dining al fresco at Downtown Ithaca’s Monks on the Commons

This week, 14850 Dining is dining on the patio at Monks on the Commons. The southern-inspired restaurant in the Ithaca Marriott opened their patio for Cinco de Mayo, and they’ve been offering patio service when the weather allows, with frequent BBQs and music since then.

Music on the patio, with a grill set up at left. 14850 photo.

Between the Commons and the Marriott itself, the Monks patio is just a concrete apron with rope lines that separate it from the surrounding public sidewalk, making it legal to serve alcohol in the outdoor space.

When it’s chilly out, the hotel has movable, gas-powered heaters, and there are large table umbrellas to offer some shade on sunny days or protection from drizzle. (Sitting north of a tall hotel and east of the Green Street parking garage and Rothschild Building, the patio won’t be in direct sun very much.)

Most of the time when the patio is open, servers are taking order and bringing food from the regular menu outside from the hotel kitchen. When the BBQ grill is set up outside, the regular menu is still available, as are the “Social Hour” specials that Monks is offering at the bar. Those include rotating $5 sharable plates like the brussels sprouts nachos or the meatballs and braised beef, as well as specially priced glasses of wine, draft beers, and cocktails.

We’ve also recently enjoyed specials like a tuna and blue crab ceviche and ramp pesto pappardelle. Monks bills itself as soulful food and sinful cocktails, and the pairings have been fantastic, with handcrafted drinks accompanying the freshly assembled food, featuring plenty of local produce.

Grilled lobster tail and an excellent ribeye sandwich at an early Monks patio BBQ. 14850 photo.

The patio BBQs have been weekly, and they plan to grill outdoors Sunday afternoons from 4-7 for the summer. Offerings grilled to order have included lobster tail, pork banh mi sandwiches, fish tacos, St. Louis style BBQ ribs, sausage and peppers, Finger Lakes marinade BBQ chicken, even a super tender grilled ribeye sandwich.

Add to that sides like blue cheese cole slaw and corn casserole, plus the full Monks menu, and the patio BBQs have become a quick hit.

Find Monks at 120 South Aurora Street on the east end of the Ithaca Commons, or at monksonthecommons.com, or call them at 607-272-2222 and tell them you heard about them here.

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