By Wendy Greenberg
A sure sign of summer is when tables and chairs are set outside at restaurants, frequently punctuated by colorful umbrellas and accompanied by succulent summer menus. Whether you prefer an awning, an old-fashioned porch, or are a purist who shuns any barrier to the elements, now is the time to take advantage of the many alfresco dining options in the area.
We love to celebrate the better weather by eating in — or near — the open air, even when clouds hang low. Patios are “great for people watching people, and people want to be seen too,” points out Carlo Momo of Mediterra in Princeton.
If Princeton is a walking town, it is also an alfresco town. The streetscape is bursting with small tables and chairs at establishments along Nassau Street from east of Harrison Street at Trattoria Procaccini to outside at the Blue Point Grill, EFES Mediterranean Grill, Café Vienna, and PJ’s Pancake House; around to Palmer Square’s Winberie’s Restaurant & Bar, Teresa Caffé, Mistral, Mediterra, and Yankee Doodle Tap Room; down to Jammin’ Crepes; and many places in between. The Princeton Shopping Center on North Harrison Street has its own alfresco scene with Nomad Pizza, Surf Taco, and more.
The tables and chairs don’t fold up at borough boundaries. In Lawrenceville, alfresco dining is part of the Main Street scene at Acacia, Fedora Bistro Café, and more. Sometimes patio dining appears when you least expect it … driving on West Upper Ferry Road in Ewing, past the New Jersey State Patrol headquarters, the red and blue umbrellas of Blooming Grove Inn pepper the neighborhood landscape. And Labebe in North Brunswick features authentic Mediterranean cuisine in a lovely outdoor setting. more