Outdoor Dining In Worcester County
By Paul Giorgio
As far as I’m concerned, there are only two things you can do with a deck. You can either build one in your backyard and then maintain it or relax and eat on one at your favorite restaurant. Since I’m more the sedentary type, I opt for the latter, and what better time to do it than in the summer. So if you’re like me and enjoy dining al fresco while the weather permits, here is a partial list of some of my favorite outdoor patio and deck dining spots (the only real difference between the two is height and building materials) in the area. Try one at lunchtime for some sunshine during the day, try one for dinner and take in the night air, try one for brunch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
There are quite a few places in Worcester where you can eat outside in the summertime, but Shrewsbury Street probably has the largest concentration of them. The list includes everything from Café Dolce ~ where you can get a drink, coffee or dessert after your meal ~ to Zia’s Grill, The Flying Rhino and Via, the newest kid on the block, that has a beautiful and secluded patio. Several other spots on “The Street” open their floor to ceiling doors to let the summer come in, too ~ Funky Murphy’s, TriBeCa, and Red Lantern, which has a great outdoor pagoda.
Once you get off Shrewsbury Street, you have to look a bit harder, but there are still some great options. Block 5 Bistro on Green Street has just opened its outdoor patio complete with overhead lighting that gives an old world feel. Castellana’s on Harding Street offers several outdoor tables, and Chioda’s on Franklin Street also has an outdoor patio worth checking out. McFadden’s on Front Street just opened its outdoor patio, the first in downtown Worcester, and we’re hoping that other restaurants in that neighborhood will follow suit.
Shrewsbury and Leicester
Cross the bridge into Shrewsbury and there’s Vinny T’s, sitting right on Lake Quinsigamond and giving diners the best view in the area. You can even pull your boat up to the deck. If you leave Worcester and head in the opposite direction, you’ll find the Castle restaurant in Leicester. This bastion of Continental Cuisine offers upscale outdoor dining overlooking lovely Lake Sargent and the Castle’s own herb garden. And if the Castle’s a little on the fancy side for your taste, just head down Leicester’s Route 56 to Hot Dog Annie’s. They don’t have a patio per se but their picnic tables are a great alternative.
You can start on Route 12 right as you leave the Worcester limits and hit one outdoor dining opportunity after another. P.J.‘s in West Boylston is followed by Seamus O’Callahan’s in Sterling which in turn is followed by Lidio’s in Leominster. Veer off Route 12 and you can run into Giuseppe’s in Northboro; its deck overlooks Solomon Pond. Also in Northboro, right on Rte 20, is Lazio, the new upscale Italian eatery. They’ve just opened a patio in front of the restaurant. If you’re not afraid of a little drive, head up to the soon-to-be new town of Devens to try out Devens Grill, located on the grounds of what used to be Fort Devens in Ayer. Swing around and you can stop in at Joseph’s Bistro in Westminster right off of Route 140.
Brian’s at Point Breeze on Webster Lake is probably the best outdoor dining venue in South County. This Webster restaurant has great views of the lake, the perfect backdrop for a leisurely summer meal. Also try Doc’s Sports Bar in Milford.
Whether you already have a favorite outdoor dining destination or feel like trying someplace new, do make sure to take advantage of the warm weather while you can ~ dining al fresco is truly one of the best parts of summer.