Outdoor kitchens are the hottest trend in coastal living and the new generation offers a sizzling array of options.

Remember the days when a barbecue meant carting the food and cooking equipment outside, bringing it all back in to serve it up, heading outside again to eat, and back inside again to clean the dishes?

All that traipsing in and out of the house and cooking clutter is now a distant memory thanks to the hottest new trend in ocean home outdoor living. The humble barbecue has been transformed into fully functioning outdoor kitchens for weekend chefs to cook up a storm.

Once the domain of sun loungers and sunbrellas, pool patios have expanded to include dedicated outdoor entertaining spaces featuring state-of-the-art grills, specialty burners, pizza ovens, refrigerators and beverage coolers, kitchen carts, fire features, portable heaters, and a sizzling array of other cooking facilities and lifestyle accessories.

And that’s just the delicious appetizer. All of the equipment can be custom designed in all-weather fixed cabinets and mobile islands, made of stainless steel and other durable materials, as well as drawers, floating shelves, sinks, faucets, and even outdoor dishwashers to make storage and cleaning up a breeze.

The result? More time and space to relax with family and friends, an assortment of cooking options, all-year outdoor entertaining, and a significant investment in the value of your home.

If you’re planning to build or upgrade an outdoor kitchen, here are six industry experts to guide you:


Kalamazoo’s Artisan Fire Pizza Oven makes authentic Neopolitan-style pizzas everytime 

This outstanding company is a market leader because it builds outdoor kitchen equipment exclusively. The architect of the revolutionary Hybrid Fire Grill, the first of its kind to offer outdoor cooks the ability to grill with gas, charcoal and wood – all at the same time – Kalamazoo adheres to the highest quality craftsmanship.

With a heritage of innovation and an extensive product line featuring cutting-edge grills, weather-tight cabinetry, refrigeration, a unique pizza oven, outdoor dishwasher, and a custom design program, Kalamazoo knows kitchens inside and out.

New for 2014 is the redesigned Artisan Fire Pizza Oven, an outdoor pizza oven that heats to more than 800 degrees and bakes homemade pizzas in less than three minutes. Powered by natural gas or liquid propane, the updated oven offers more power control (and a stylish new look) to cook pizzas, bake breads, and roast vegetables, meat and fish.

Designed to sit easily on an outdoor countertop, Kalamazoo’s pizza oven is compact and comes with two stones and two burners for an authentic and versatile cooking experience.

“The stone on the baking deck is hollow to heat and cool quickly while the one in the ceiling radiates heats back down to pizza toppings,” says Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet’s vice president of product development. “This really helps create the blistered and leoparded crusts so key to Neapolitan-style pizza flavor.” kalamazoogourmet.com


Coyote’s range of all stainless steel grills is perfect for outdoor kitchens

Based in Dallas, Texas, a Mecca of outdoor grilling, the innovative Coyote specializes in the design, development and production of high-quality, all-stainless steel grills and accessories, offering homeowners the chance to create their dream outdoor kitchen.

A leading manufacturer of grills, storage solutions and refrigeration, among other outdoor living options, Coyote recently launched a series of new products, including an exclusive Grill in a Box, a refreshment center, a power burner, and combination drawers and doors.

The line’s Two Burner Grill and Grill in Box is made of stainless steel featuring interior hood lights and improved heat control grids, and is available as a preassembled Grill in a Box or as a grill head.

The new power burner is ideal for a turkey fry or lobster pot with accessories including a wok and Teppanyaki attachments.

Coyote’s refreshment center comes with a sink and faucet and a sturdy self-insulated drop-in cooler for food and beverages, a bottle holder and opener, towel rack, and removable insert for condiments.

“Our goal has always been to provide customers with premium quality, affordable outdoor kitchen products, and our latest innovations support that mission,” says Jim Ginocchi, the company’s president. “We aim to address the needs of a variety of customers, who may also want an outdoor kitchen for smaller spaces.” coyoteoutdoor.com


No one cooks pizzas and crusty home-baked breads like the Italians, which makes Fontana Forni’s wood-fired steel outdoor ovens a durable and stylish standout in this highly competitive industry.

Fontana Forti’s wood fired steel oven

All of the Fontana ovens use up to 80 percent less wood than traditional brick ovens but can still reach cooking temperatures nearly twice that of a standard home oven.While typical wood-burning brick ovens have a large mass that must be heated and require hours to reach cooking temperature, the new direct-heating Forno Toscano can achieve that in just 10 to 15 minutes.Designed and handcrafted in Italy (and imported by Fontana Forni USA), the newest addition to the line is the Forno Toscano oven that is smaller, lighter and available at a lower price than other Fontana Forni models while offering many of the same unique features.

“Fontana Forni has been manufacturing high quality steel products for more than 60 years, and the ovens are made to exacting Italian rules and regulations,” says Fontana Forni USA’s owner Kirk Laing.

“My wife is from Italy and I’ve lived there for seven years,” he adds. “Our ovens are the perfect way to achieve the unique flavors of Italian cooking at home without having to build an oven and then spend hours pre-heating it to cook a meal.” fontanaforniusa.com


Lynx Grills offer sizzling cooking options for summer barbecues and pizzas

Earlier this year, Lynx Grills unveiled a revolutionary Smart Grill, a voice-activated connected grill that can be programmed from a smart phone and automatically cooks foods based on user commands.Since its launch in 1996, Lynx Grills has set benchmarks for design, innovation and engineering excellence in stylish, durable and efficient outdoor grills and accessories. Based in Downey, Calif., the company’s product line currently features 16 grill models (built-in or freestanding and ranging in size from 27 to 54 inches), and accessories including an outdoor refrigerator, ice machine and cocktail station, among other items.

Driven by a fly-by-wire system that powers primary functions such as ignition and burners via an automated system, the Smart Grill will also cook recipes that have been pre-programmed by Lynx master grillers for perfect meals every time.

The Smart Grill will even talk back to you, checking to see if you would like your steak selection grilled to the exact temperature as last time. The Smart Grill is still at concept stage but sources say it is slated for release in 2015. lynxgrills.com


A sleek kitchen by Danver and Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens

Two other industry leaders in the outdoor kitchen universe are Danver and Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens, both specializing in sleek and stylish stainless steel cabinetry and offering professional advice, functional design, and high-quality products from grills to pizza ovens and refrigerators.

Outdoor kitchens suffer from exposure to the natural elements far more than indoor kitchens, so it pays to think carefully about which materials to use in the design process.

Stainless steel not only looks attractive in an outdoor setting, it also provides a sanitary surface, is easily cleaned, 100 percent recyclable and corrosion resistant. A new selection of painted finishes is also available in 10 standard and eight realistic wood powder coats.

Danver, which also distributes elegant and low- maintenance Walpole pergolas, takes a holistic approach to outdoor kitchen design, looking at everything from the layout and “flow” of the available space to the siting of cabinets, equipment and accessories to create a single functional plan. danver.combrownjordanoutdoorkitchens.com