The Berkshires Blog

Memorable Outdoor Dining

By Nancy Macy

Fresh air… Fresh food. The sweet mountain air in the Berkshires is an enticing accompaniment to the variety of delicious foods found here, whether savored at an outdoor café or at a picnic on a mountaintop, beside a hiking trail, or as a lovely prelude to any of the summer’s cultural events. These locales are just a few of the many choices for dining outside during your visit.

In a garden. The Courtyard at The Red Lion Inn serves lunch, dinner and cocktails in an open-air setting that’s a wonderful beginning to an afternoon or evening spent at Tanglewood or a welcome place to wind down under a star-filled sky after spending the day exploring the area’s shops, museums and outdoor adventures. The seasonal menu features the culinary creations of executive chef Brian Alberg, known for his commitment to sourcing local ingredients and supporting the farmers and food producers who make their home and living here.

On a patio or porch.  There are two dining options at Xicohtencatl (pronounced SHEE-co-ten-cat) to choose from.  Soak up the sun outside on their patio or choose a table on the brightly painted porch and savor authentic Mexican cuisine lovingly prepared by Chef Angel. His roots and upbringing are what keep the patrons returning!  Enjoy cold drinks, homemade guacamole and classic Mexican dishes; a perfect prelude to an evening in the Berkshires.

With ping-pong. At Prairie Whale you can enjoy there expansive outdoor space complete with picnic tables and ping-pong, making it a great outdoor spot to bring the whole family. What will bring you back time and time again though is their rustic and delicious food focused on using local farm ingredients or simply stop on by for a delicious cocktail.

Served with music. Just over the state line in northwestern Connecticut, Infinity Music Hall & Bistro on Route 44 in Norfolk is a relaxed setting for dinner, drinks and a show in the upstairs concert hall. The theater, originally built in the late 1800s, has undergone extensive renovations including a state-of-the art sound system. Dinner and cocktails are also served in the mezzanine during performances. This summer’s scheduled live-music lineup includes returning favorites Tower of Power, the Little River Band and Charlie Musselwhite.

Downtown cafés. In  Lenox, Firefly, Alta Restaurant & Wine Bar and its sister restaurant Church Street Café all offer casual, family-friendly atmospheres, seasonally inspired food and vegetarian options made from locally sourced ingredients. Creative cocktails and an extensive wine and beer list round out the menus. Allow time to get a table, especially in summer, as these are popular dining spots before and after Tanglewood or Shakespeare & Company performances nearby.  In Pittsfield don’t miss Trattoria Rustica on McKay Street in Pittsfield, chef-owner Davide Manzo prepares homemade authentic southern regional Italian dishes featuring organic and locally grown and raised produce, meats, and poultry. Every dish is prepared to order, so plan a little extra time and relax with a chilled glass of wine on the back terrace, weather permitting, surrounded by colorful murals and a canopy of greenery. Five-course wine dinners and late-night Italian movies in the courtyard are more reasons this is a special spot in the Berkshires. It’s also close to the growing cultural center in downtown Pittsfield.

No matter where you find yourself in the Berkshires this summer, dining outdoors is another way to experience our exciting local food scene. Learn more here.


Nancy Macy is a freelance writer and editor based in the Berkshires.