My Local MA

Dining Outdoors in the Berkshires

Truly Dining Out

Xicohtencatl. Photo by Ogden Gigli.As with many eating and drinking establishments across the country this summer, restaurants in the Berkshires are turning outdoor spaces into open-air dining rooms. Patios, porches, terraces, gardens, and sidewalks have become inviting spots for a craft cocktail, microbrew, snack, or artfully prepared farm-to-table meal. Furnishings are comfortable (and safely distanced). Settings are delightful and creative, just as you’d expect from the area’s award-winning restaurateurs. 

Inspired by the thought of fresh air and a fabulous meal on a summer day, we set out to find Berkshire restaurants that offer the casual informality of outside seating, whether in addition to or in lieu of inside dining. We found plenty of options! Although this story features restaurants with quintessentially New England front porches, there are lots of other choices that meet whatever atmosphere you’re looking for. 

Porch sitting provides an opportunity to relax, eat, and sip slowly as you watch the evening’s quiet settle in. At the famed Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, comfy rocking chairs invite you to sit and savor the moment with a cocktail or a snack while waiting for your table inside or on the Piazza. The historic inn’s corner location in the center of town also offers the perfect perch for people watching.

In Lee, 51 Park Restaurant & Tavern’s wraparound porch is a popular family-friendly lunch and dinner spot offering freshly made pub fare, wood-fired pizza, and a kids menu. They also have seating inside. Also downtown is the new Café Triskele Kitchen & Pantry (formerly Chez Nous) by chef-owners Franck Tessier and Rachel Portnoy. Nibbles, small plates, sandwiches, burgers (and amazing desserts) are created with the same passion that has made Chez Nous an area favorite for years. Eat inside or in the expanded covered dining area outdoors.

Small and cozy defines the front porches at Alta Restaurant & Wine Bar (Mediterranean) and Firefly Gastropub, Brava, Cafe Lucia on Church Street in Lenox. Each offers indoor and outdoor options, but if you choose a table on the porch you’ll not only have a memorable meal, you’ll have a front seat to the bustling summer activity of one of the Berkshires most charming small towns—home to Tanglewood, Edith Wharton’s The Mount, and Shakespeare & Company.

Looking for something on the spicy side? Executive Chef Angel Espinoza Jimenez has you covered at Xicohtencatl Mexican Restaurant in Great Barrington. Get a table on the cheery yellow porch and prepare to be delighted. The mole (a secret family recipe), fantastic margaritas and 50 top-shelf tequilas are only some of what make this spot hop any day of the week. The food is fresh, ingredients are sourced locally (including from their gardens), and there’s something to please every palate. 

Other options include Truc Orient Express Restaurant in West Stockbridge where you can grab takeout to enjoy outdoors, or sit on the patio at Trailhouse Kitchen & Bar in North Adams – they source all their ingredients from local farms and suppliers.

Sounds spectacular, right? We thought so too. Gather a few friends, make your reservations, and join us for a taste of al fresco dining at Berkshire restaurants this summer!  

Written by Nancy Macy.

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