Browsing a thrift shop last weekend, I laughed when I saw barware emblazoned with the phrase, "I'm outdoorsy in that I like getting drunk on patios.” Dining and drinking on patios is no longer limited to a few months (or weeks) of fair weather. 

The past few months, the chilly-but-not-quite-cold weather experienced across the usually frozen Midwest, where this magazine is produced, has left many staring longingly out their windows, daydreaming about spring and the great outdoors, and longing to drink and dine outside.

The future is likely filled with warmer winters and hotter summers. There are innumerable implications to discuss in that arena but, for restaurant development + design, we must ask how it will affect the design of outdoor dining spaces. I will moderate an expert panel discussion on that topic and others related to outdoor dining during an hour-long webcast at 1 p.m. central on April 11. You can register to watch this panel (and ask questions live!) on our website at Can’t wait until April to learn more about the future of outdoor dining? Then turn to page 38 of this magazine where you will find a feature story on outdoor dining trends.

Outdoor dining is not the only trend this issue addresses. As per usual, the annual Designers Dish! (page 32) roundtable is overflowing with insights and surprises. While the roundtable’s answers were interesting, be sure to check the Buzz section (starting on page 10) to see how readers felt about some of the same topics. I was fascinated to see how rd+d readers are using AI (or not at all — according to 65% of respondents). 

And, to keep up with all our reader surveys and results, be sure to check your email and subscribe to our e-newsletters as we’ve just launched a new one called The Pulse. It distills all the recent survey results that you find in Buzz in an in-depth way, pairing the data with related content, comparing it to earlier survey results to establish trend lines and much more. It’s rd+d’s first new e-newsletter in more than a decade and it wasn’t launched lightly. It’s one of the many tools we employ to get the content in this magazine to be even more vital and relevant to the work lives of readers. 

If you’d like to contribute to this mission, please feel free to reach out to me directly with questions, comments, suggestions and, of course, any projects you’d like us to cover.

As always, thanks for reading and supporting rd+d.