CAFÉ SOCIETY: Houston, Littleton & Chicago

As promised at the beginning of the month, here are outdoor cafés recommended by Style Maniac correspondents across the country. Merci, mes amis, for the wonderful suggestions.  Can't wait to come visit and try them all!  And please, chic readers, share your favorite spot in the Comments section below.

In Houston architect and fabulous cook Karen Krauskopf, recommends The Grove (above) a clean, modern restaurant bordering a park downtown. "It's a very peaceful place--my escape for a cool glass of white wine.  Even when it's 100+ degrees and 90% humidity, this place set amongst the oak trees and skyscrapers cools me."  The Grove  1611 Lamar Street (Discovery Green Park), Houston TX

Karen also loves Backstreet Cafe (left): "This quintessential neighborhood spot is right around the corner from us.  Good food, nice wine list.  Intimate (it's a re-purposed house) and romantic, but also a great place to meet friends.  The courtyard offers a wonderful, almost private outdoor dining experience, especially at night.  Again under giant oak tree.  We do love our big trees here in the blistering heat of the south."  Backstreet Cafe  1103 South Shepherd Drive, Houston TX

Across the country, Andrea Sowitch recommends JaJa Bistro in Littleton, Colorado (just outside Denver) for its outdoor dining and authentic charm. "My class from Alliance Française has made it a tradition to celebrate Bastille Day at JaJa.  The owner Stephan Poullier hails from the South of France and grew up working in his family's restaurant in Provence. My favorites are the stuffed dates, moules frites and enjoying a kir on the patio." (By the way, JaJa is French slang for getting together for a drink with friends, something Andrea and I have been doing since bonding during our college semester abroad in Nice.)  JaJa Bistro 5641 South Nevada Street, Littleton CO
Trish Woodson writes a knitting blog ttwcreative, and although I don't knit a stitch, we have discovered so many common loves through our blogs, I just knew she'd have a great recommendation for a Chicago café.  And she did:

"We only get a few months of alfresco dining here in Chi-town, but we know how to make the most of it.  One of our best little spots is Anteprima, a regional Italian eatery focusing on fresh, local and organic food.  This particular spot is especially perfect for Style Maniac readers because it's mere blocks away from nationally-recognized (but still affordable!) interior design shops like George Lowell, Scout and Brimstone.  If you're in Chicago one nice day, pop on your can't-miss sundress and head to the Andersonville neighborhood for shopping and a wonderful dinner.  Don't be disturbed by the busy dining room, you called ahead and made a reservation for the secret garden hidden behind the restaurant, didn't you?  Sip a cocktail while sitting amidst the beautiful greenery and peruse a selection of starters--you can get 8 of them for $15.  While you decide between the risotto with peeky toe crab and crispy trout, sit back and enjoy the wonder that is Chicago in warm weather."  Anteprima, 5316 N. Clark Street, Chicago IL

PHOTOS 1 & 2 via The Grove Facebook Page, PHOTO 3 via Backstreet Cafe Facebook Page, LOGO via JaJa , PHOTO 4 via

"Use the good china for breakfast."