Before the cold comes, where are the best pandemic patios?
Deserved or not, North End restaurateurs get mountains of credit for the radical idea of freeing up more outdoor dining opportunities to weather the pandemic. Sometimes, city officials share the props, since they’re essentially extending lifelines by the grace of generous zoning and licensing blessings, neither of which is common in Boston. Considering that Mass is a blue state wrapped in red tape down to its core municipal layers, perhaps some appreciation is in order. Still, there’s also a lot of fresh air action underway beyond the Hub that is worth noting, and that’s where you come in.
Even restaurants and bars that can chug along under these circumstances face significant municipal and spatial restrictions, and we want to know about the best practices that you have seen. You can tell us all about the horrible experiences as well, like the server in the yellow nuclear onesie from Back to the Future, but our aim isn’t to shame. Tangent to the Silver Dining Playbook project spearheaded by service worker and insider writer Haley Hamilton, we hope to fertilize the garden of solutions and ideas tooled to lift and protect the devastated industry.
First up, patios—and parking lots, sidewalks, alleyways, and any other crevice or configuration where people are eating these days. In Inman Square, spots stretching for a block and a half have comfortably annexed all of the smooth westbound asphalt, making for a cozy curbside garden feel. In Quincy Center, classic standby The Fours secured an enormous new outdoor oasis that almost—almost—fills the gap left by the temporary closure of its iconic and casual three-sided bar.
Now, your turn …
Do you have a favorite local restaurant that built a relaxing and safe open-air snug? What are they doing right? Can it be replicated?
You get the gist. Please email any tips to [email protected] with “Outdoor Dining” in the subject line.
BONUS: We are also in the process of visiting joints in the reopening gray area—the kind of bars that Mass Gov. Charlie Baker accused of selling bags of potato chips and masquerading as restaurants so they can also serve drinks. If you know of any places that fit the description, please email us at the above address in private.