The Neighbor Team Shares Their Outdoor Dining Must-Haves
Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor | Opens in a new window. |
The Neighbor team's motto; always be outdoors. Here's how we do outdoor dining.
With summer in full swing, warm evenings are the perfect opportunity to dine outside or host a gathering with friends and family. When it comes to making your backyard feel inviting, casual, and family-friendly, durable patio furniture and a good guest list are just the beginning.
To help you style a pared down dinner party, keep your guests entertained, or add seasonal flavors to your al fresco menu, we asked the Neighbor team to share their summer dining must-haves. As outdoor enthusiasts and Phoenix-area residents (where summer seems to never end), the Neighbor team views outdoor dining as part of their daily lives.
Don’t know where start when planning to eat outdoors this summer? Keep reading.
Fire up the grill
Instead of prepping food indoors, grilling makes cooking part of the dining experience and gives you more time to connect and chat with friends. Find the grill accessories that make things easy and are a cinch to clean when it’s time to call it a night. Nick, Neighbor’s CEO, swears by his Ooni pizza oven for outdoor dinners with his family. “It’s a really fun activity to make pizza with my two daughters on a Friday night. We like to use fresh, local ingredients and pair it with family trivia — we look forward to it every week.”
Let the food and drinks be the star
The best part about outdoor dining is that guests aren’t sitting down for long periods of time. When outdoors, it’s easy to switch from lounge seating to formal seating and back again as the light changes. Your guests might join you at the grill, or take up a seat at your outdoor bar. The most fun outdoor gatherings are centered around good food and drink. Mike, Neighbor’s creative director Neighbor likes to serve fresh oysters and local craft beer when hosting friends and family on the west coast. Add-ons like small batch hot sauce, a specialty cocktail mix, or artisan salami are an easy way to elevate your meal without needing extra prep or cooking time.
Mix and match your serve ware
There are plenty of options for plates, glasses, and serving platters for the outdoors. Like furniture, the focus of outdoor serve ware lands on durability (nobody want broken glass outdoors), but that doesn’t mean your plates and drinking glasses need to be boring. Dee, Neighbor’s content lead, likes to keep a collection of glasses, pitchers, and serving plates that add visual interest to her setup. “I choose my plates and glasses depending on what I’m serving. This summer, we’ve been drinking a lot of margaritas with freshly squeezed limes from our garden. I found these glasses at a thrift store and think they’re perfect.”
If you lean towards neutral decorations and accents for the interior of your home, your backyard, deck or patio space is a good place for pops of color and fresh flowers and greenery. Neighbor’s head of finance, Jenn, is a part-time floral designer and loves a fresh flowers at her table; “Even when I can’t make it to a flower shop, I’ll forage for a few stems of greenery and create an easy bouquet. Even simple florals brighten my space and make an easy dinner at home feel like a special occasion.”
Don’t forget lighting
The right outdoor lighting sets the mood for a great evening outdoors. String lights are easy to hang over a dining table and provide your space with soft, low lighting that’s perfect for lingering dinner conversations. To add intimate lighting and keep bugs away in the heat of the summer, Neighbor’s COO, Chris adds citronella candles to his outdoor lounge space and at his dining table. A candle works as a decorative centerpiece and creates the perfect atmosphere to relax and enjoy the night.