Sunshine and a spritz

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Cypress Yard recently opened up its patio, serving predinner appetizers and aperitivo cocktails. (Daniel McKay photos/Whitefish Pilot)

Whitefish’s food and drink connoisseurs have a new place to whet their appetites.

Cypress Yard is opening up its outdoor patio this summer, serving charcuterie boards, soups, draught beer, wine and wine cocktails on Thursdays through Sundays.

Morgan Cawdrey, co-owner of the space, said the new offering is reminiscent of Bonsai Brewing Project’s summer outdoor experience, but with an Italian twist.

“I love to go to Bonsai and enjoy the outdoor space and have beer and see friends with our dog and kids running around, and basically we see it as kind of a version of that with wine and wine cocktails also offered,” he said. “We’re keeping the menu very simple, it’s meant to be more of a before dinner social space.”

Cawdrey and the other owners of Cypress Yard worked with chef and signature in-house caterer Michael Cartwright to build a menu that mimics the Italian tradition of the “aperitivo,” which utilizes appetizers and wine cocktails with bitter liqueur meant to tantalize the palate before a main meal.

Cawdrey said he became a fan of the predinner food and drink lifestyle in his own time in Italy.

“In many ways, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do since my parents took me to Italy when I was 10. My wife and I did our honeymoon in Italy, and we just love ‘la dolce vita,’ the sweet life — those moments after work where people socialize and enjoy a yummy cocktail or beer and just relax from the day,” he said. “We’re really trying to import that feeling of Italy into Montana.”

Cypress Yard shares the 2014 Wisconsin Avenue building with the Nancy Cawdrey Gallery and has been hosting events like weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries and more since last September.

The patio will be open from 3 to 8 p.m. Dogs are welcome in the yard, and the atmosphere is meant to be informal and family-friendly.

Cawdrey said he hopes Whitefish community members and visitors stop by for some good food, good drink and good art.

“I hope people are inspired and come check out all the local artists. I think what defines any place are the people that are there, and we love this town and all of our friends here, and they are excited about another outdoor space where they can have wine and a bite to eat,” he said.

Additional parking is available in the back, accessed by the road to the left of the building. On days when the venue is booked for an event, the restaurant will not be open.

For more information visit or email or call 406-755-2727.

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