When the restaurant smoking ban went into effect in 2006, the Cherry Cricket‘s back patio effectively became the smokers’ patio. If you wanted to enjoy one of the restaurant’s signature juicy burgers outside, you’d have to do it in the air of lit cigarettes–which left many diners eating inside in the middle of summer.

The Cricket, though, has finally remedied this problem. While the back patio remains a smoker’s haven, the new outdoor seating area in front, which opened last week, counts about 20 tables that are smoke-free. The narrow row of two- and four-tops faces Second Avenue, making for good people-watching. And its awning keeps the patio shady almost all day long. For a laidback meal in Cherry Creek, it’s going to be hard to find a better spot during the summer.

Bonus: Snag a seat on the Cricket’s patio this weekend to catch all the activity of the Cherry Creek Arts Festival–with a cool brew in hand.

2641 E. Second Ave., 303-322-7666