"safest" outdoor dining options upper peninsula

I need to come up with a nice spot to take my 80 year old mother out for her birthday. I am pretty squeamish about dining in public and so far have only gone to Sam’s Chowder House with her as it feels like the ventilation from the coast and lack of wall enclosures make it maybe a bit safer.
Regardless of how you feel about dining in covid times, pretend you are me and you don’t want to be inside, or truthfully, even in a parklet enclosure.
Any nice ideas on The 1 or upper peninsula and I guess SF would work too but I’d really rather have a fully outdoor experience.
For example, Costanoa’s Cascade restaurant was pretty ideal for being outside somewhere nice. I wasn’t thrilled with the food there myself, and it’s a bit far, but it’s a backup option for sure.


That’s tough. Lots of restaurants have some sort of semi enclosed space.

I assume this may be too enclosed? This is All Spice.

Others may be outside on a street, but the streets are crowded.

I would also think of going there super early as well and hope that less people would want to dine at that location.

In SF, my first choice for a special occasion would probably be Californios at their new location on 11th st, but it’s in an outdoor patio with partial walls and a roof. Second choice might be Saison but they are a parklet. If you are avoiding parklets, you can request outdoor non parklet (sidewalk) seats at Marlena or Dragon Beaux. Merchant Roots has an indoor table where you are the only customer inside, if that helps, and they leave the door open.


Just as a follow-up. We ended up going North, to Tiburon to be exact and went to Sam’s Anchor Cafe. Great outdoor deck dining. Food was… fine. I prefer Sam’s which this feels very similar too menuwise. But it really hit the nail in terms of atmosphere for a special outing and uncovered outdoor dining.

Speaking of Sam’s. Tried going today and there was an 1.5 hour wait. Been about 6 times in the last 6 months and never waited a minute, so I guess people were out in droves this week-before-Easter and some folks Spring Break Wednesday. It felt like a pre-covid sunny Saturday.

Merchant Roots looks pretty wild.

Merchant roots gets an A+ for whimsy/ wackiness and the food actually is well executed for the most part. You’ll leave with a smile on your face.