Last week, as hurricane Henri headed towards the Northeast, some New Jersey residents took to social media to post their “calm before the storm” activities. The photos indicated that the posters might soon be hunkered down, but they were going about their weekend plans in the meantime. When the storm arrived, certain services did indeed stall in the face of the inclement weather, and as of Sunday, a tropical storm warning was in place in Essex County. Though the worst of it seems to be over, there is the potential for more rain as the summer winds down. Inspired by the stormy weather, we’ve rounded up a list of spots where you can dine outdoors even when it’s drizzling. So, if you’re ready to get out for some “calm after the storm” fun in Essex County, know that these restaurants have quite literally got you covered.
Arturo’s | 180 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood
Arturo’s Osteria in downtown Maplewood recently reopened its dining room following a COVID-19 hiatus. Typically, this Italian eatery is a crowded spot, so outdoor seating is not always guaranteed. But if you are able to snag a table outdoors, you’ll be partially sheltered by an awning or umbrellas. This seating might not do well in an all-out downpour, but rest assured you’ll be safe from a summer sun shower.
Avenue Bistro | 558 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona
(Photo credit: @avenuebistronj)
This Verona venue is equal parts fun and fine-dining. Not only does this chic spot have a partially covered patio for weather-wary diners, but it also is mixing things up with a summer tiki bar. This past weekend, the restaurant advertised a “Hurricane Henri Happy Hour” for those looking to get out of the rain.
DeNovo European Pub | 275 Bellevue Avenue, Montclair
(Photo credit: @denovomontclair)
DeNovo Montclair brought back its popular outdoor seating option this summer. Positioned outside the main restaurant is a large white event tent, complete with overhead lights and bordered by pots of blooming flowers. This Euro-inspired venue is a great place to dine outdoors, whether it’s a starry night or an overcast evening.
Egan + Sons | 118 Walnut Street, Montclair
(Photo credit: @eganandsons)
Egan and Sons offers a few different outdoor seating options, depending on when you go. The open-air Biergarten has umbrella-sheltered tables during the sunny season, while the partially-covered patio features heaters during the colder months. For certain seasonal celebrations, white tents are brought out to protect outdoor diners from the weather. Around St. Patrick’s Day this past year, the enclosed outdoor setup even sported Irish flags and Guinness posters to set the mood. Outdoor seating is generally limited, and the enclosed space is not always available, so be sure to call ahead when making your plans.
Fascino | 331 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair
(Photo credit: @fascino_restaurant)
Those familiar with Fascino might recall an outdoor dining scene under a protective tent. However, as of approximately a month ago, the covering was actually destroyed by a passing storm. With only a few weeks left of hurricane season, Fascino does not have plans to rebuild the enclosure. Rather, the team welcomes guests to dine indoors, or outside under the cover of umbrellas.
Faubourg | 544 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair
(Photo credit: @faubourgmontclair)
Indoor and outdoor reservations are available at the French-inspired Faubourg. This multi-level locale is home to a well-lit patio space and sheltered outdoor bar, complete with a roaring fire pit, should the weather allow for a bonfire. Proprietors Olivier Muller and Dominique Paulin say it was their vision to “create a culinary experience with serious intent in a thoughtfully designed, inviting setting.” They have certainly succeeded in preparing their space for every outdoor eventuality— including a rainy forecast.
Just Jake’s | 30 Park Street, Montclair
(Photo credit: @justjakes_montclair)
This local favorite is a great place to get your groove on, but it also has a fantastic outdoor dining arrangement. Tents and heaters are available for wetter days and TVs usually deck the patio, so you’ll stay dry and entertained while at a happy hour. Dogs are allowed to accompany you to the outdoor area so long as your pet is on a leash.
La Rocca Osteria | 21 Midland Avenue, Montclair
(Photo credit: @larocca.osteria)
La Rocca has a few outdoor tables situated under the awning, so this space is ready for a light drizzle. Remember that this seating is first-come, first-serve, so if you are set on sitting outside, arrive on the earlier side. If you are able to sit outdoors, enjoy the Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe or Linguine Vongole while feeling the breeze.
Mezza Mediterranean | 277 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston
(Photo credit: @mezzalivingston)
Mezza Mediterranean serves up “a fusion of Old World Tradition and New World Innovation.” Open for lunch and dinner, this spot is also well-equipped for rainy days. The restaurant uses tents and umbrellas on its outdoor patio to keep diners out of the cold. During warmer days, the umbrellas also protect against the summer sun. The upscale Mediterranean fare is worth turning out for no matter the forecast.
Montclair Brewery | 101 Walnut Street, Montclair
Montclair Brewery offers select tented areas on the patio in addition to an indoor tasting room. With this setup, you can enjoy whatever’s on tap while staying perfectly dry. If you’re looking to extend the outdoor fun come the fall, you can also sign up for the brewery’s annual cornhole league. Note that well-behaved dogs are invited to join you in visiting the outdoor portion of the brewery, but be sure to confirm that your furry friend will be admitted based on your specific timing and exact seating.
Salute Brick Oven Bistro | 173 Glenridge Avenue, Montclair
This Montclair bistro says that dining there is “like going to a friend’s house for dinner if your friend was from Tuscany, Umbria or the Marches.” The hospitable restaurant makes sure that nothing will rain on your parade (or your pasta) with heated outdoor greenhouses in addition to a broader outdoor dining space.