Stretching for the Sun

Flowers in Hudson River Park

There’s a small patch of grass in Hudson River Park where all the flowers are stretching for the sun.

I have been nibbling on picnics in this spot since early spring, and watched these flowers first break ground to now being over two feet in height. People in New York are doing the same thing – trying to sneak in every possible minute of sunshine with their faces tilted towards the sky. With temperatures comfortably in the 80s, there is no better time to enjoy a variety of ways to eat outdoors than these sunny July days.

Here are a few different options for eating outdoors this summer in New York.

1. Arturo’s – (for sidewalk tables)

On days where I want my outdoor dining to accompany some people watching, I head to Arturo’s on Houston Street. Not only does this pizzeria serve a pie with a lovely charred crust and the kind of mozzarella that makes my knees weak, but they also have great jazz musicians and maybe 10 tables set out right on Houston. Located on the sunny side of the street, it is possible to order a pizza and glass of Italian wine and watch the action on the border of Greenwich Village and Soho.

Arturo’s, 106 West Houston Street. No reservations. Open late for jazz. 

2. Burger Guru – (for a back garden)

Sometimes even city dwellers want to escape the honking horns and foot traffic that can plague New York. The best solution to this problem is a restaurant with a back garden, where plants grow and rushing pedestrians have no lingering effect on your meal. I recently sat beneath a sunny umbrella at a picnic table in Burger Guru’s Garden in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This is exactly the kind of food I want in the summer: juicy burgers and fresh salads. While it is tempting to stick with the classic organic beef burger, there are a variety of interesting proteins on the menu, including bison, antelope, alligator, lamb, and ostrich.

The Burger Guru, 98 Berry Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 

sandwich from Alidoro

3. Alidoro (for picnics)

I’ve already mentioned Alidoro on this blog before, but this tiny Italian neighborhood deli deserves another mention. Located on one of the most scenic blocks of Sullivan Street (and within close walking distance to Washington Square Park, Hudson River Park, or the shady picnic tables on Spring and Thompson) this sandwich shop almost always has a line out the door. That’s because sandwiches are made one at a time to order. The meat is sliced fresh every time. The bread is cut open when you order it. The result is an incredibly fresh sandwich, made with the finest ingredients. It is also the perfect picnic food, as it feels like a decadent picnic treat in portable sandwich form.

Alidoro, 105 Sullivan Street, closed Sundays.

I recently covered this topic over on the Clean Plates blog as well. If you’re looking for places to eat outdoors that offer healthy and delicious food, check out my recommendations here.

Readers, any favorite places in New York to eat outdoors?

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