A Guide to Outdoor Dining During the Pandemic


At long last, restaurants are back! Phase 2 of Connecticut’s reopening has started, and with that comes outdoor dining. We checked in with a few of our favorite shoreline restaurants to see how they’re reopening and revamping for outdoor dining:

(Click on the name to visit their site)

Alforno Trattoria in Old Saybrook has moved outdoors for lunch and dinner service. Seating for 75 guests is available under the covered walkway that runs the length of the plaza. The main dining room has a few remaining tables —spaced appropriately for everyone’s safety— for those who prefer to dine inside. Touchless takeout is available, too. 1654 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook.

Hot French Chix is opening indoors (with limited tables) and continuing outside starting June 25th. Taking reservations now for Thursday-Sunday starting at 5pm. 860-322-4102, 59 Main Street, Chester.

Chapter One Guilford is offering outdoor dining with limited hours, as well continuing their curbside pickup option. Hours are Wednesday + Thursday 2-8pm, Friday + Saturday 12pm-8pm. 25 Whitfield Street, Guilford.

Red36 in Mystic is resuming their full menu and regular hours for outdoor dining. Even happy hour is starting up again! Open on Tuesday-Thursday + Sunday 11:30am-9pm, Friday + Saturday 11:30am-10pm. 2 Washington Street, Mystic.

Noank staple Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough is open daily for outdoor dining and takeout, 11am-8pm. 117 Pearl Street, Noank.

Shank’s Waterfront Dining in Clinton is reopening at 50% capacity in their outdoor seating area. Enjoy live music and their classic BYOB option. Shank’s is offering specific hours for Seniors Only (65+), which can be found on their website. Regular hours are Sunday-Thursday 11am-8pm, Friday + Saturday 11am-9pm. 131-c Grove Street, Clinton.

Summer classic The Place in Guilford is back, featuring their usual outdoor dining and takeout options. Tables are placed 6 feet apart and are limited to households only to encourage social distancing. Don’t forget, The Place is cash or check only. Open Monday-Thursday 5-9pm, Friday 5-10pm, Saturday 1-10pm, Sunday/Holidays 12pm-9pm. 901 Boston Post Road, Guilford.

Dine on tacos & margaritas at Los Charros, Tuesday-Thursday 4-7pm and Friday-Saturday 12pm-8pm. Call on your way to get put on the waitlist–otherwise, walk-ins only. Los Charros will be continuing its takeout menu. 30 Main Street, Centerbrook  (rear entrance).

For a more intimate experience, head to The Essex, where you’ll need to book in advance to reserve one of the four patio tables. Open 4-8pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. To indulge at home, pick up prepared foods, and gourmet-to-go from the Essex Market. 30 Main Street, Centerbrook (front entrance).

One of our favorites for locally-sourced and seasonally inspired Italian fare, Grano Arso in Chester has opened a festive, socially distanced outdoor patio for al fresco enjoyment of their hand-milled pastas, tasty main dishes (the pan-roasted chicken is Erica’s favorite!), and delectable desserts. Open Tuesday thru Saturday from 5pm to 8:15. Take-out still available. Reservation only. 6 Main Street, Chester.

The Griswold Inn is open for outdoor dining and curbside pickup daily from 11:30am-8pm. Located at 36 Main Street, Essex.

Aspen is now open. Reservations are strongly recommended and you can make them via “Open Table”. Open from Wednesday through Sunday from 11:30am to 9pm. 2 Main Street, Old Saybrook.

South Lane Bistro in Guilford has added al fresco dining, Monday-Thursday 4pm-8:30pm, Friday-Saturday 4pm-9pm, and Sundays 4pm-8pm. 63 Whitfield Street, Guilford.

Both the bookstore and the outdoor café at RJ Julia in Madison reopened this week. Enjoy lunch on the patio Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-5pm. 768 Boston Post Road, Madison.

Dine by boat or at the riverside picnic tables at the Blue Oar in Haddam. Group size limited to 5 people. BYOB and cash only. Open daily from 11:30am-9pm. 16 Snyder Road, Haddam.

Enjoy vineyard views at Rose’s Winery in North Branford Friday-Saturday 11am-8pm and Sundays 11am-6pm. Curbside pickup is still an option. 33 Branford Road, North Branford.

The Engine Room is open for takeout and outdoor dining Monday-Thursday 3pm-8pm, Friday-Saturday 12pm-8pm, and Sunday 10am-8pm. 14 Holmes Street, Mystic.

Dine al fresco at Grass & Bone daily from 10am-8pm, or order for takeout. 24 E Main Street, Mystic.

While the permanent location in Mystic remains closed for renovations, Oyster Club is offering “Summer Nights,” a pop-up restaurant on the beautiful grounds of Stone Acres Farm in Stonington. From June 18th through July 11th, Oyster Club Executive Chef James Waylan and team will present a four-course meal, changing daily to highlight the best local produce. See details & make reservations here. 

Indulge in a much-needed vacation at the Weekapaug Inn, opening June 16th. Accommodations–including fitness center, pool and beach–will be open along with outdoor dining at any of the three restaurants. 25 Spray Rock Road, Westerly RI.

Book a weekend getaway at the Ocean House in Westerly, also reopening June 16th. Dine outside at COAST, the Bistro, and the Verandah, or pick up fast-casual meals at Seaside Terrace. 1 Bluff Ave, Westerly RI.

Dine overlooking the Sound at Fresh Salt, located outside of the Saybrook Point Inn. We recommend calling ahead to reserve since seating is limited and weather-dependent. Check out their website for live music and other events. Open Monday-Thursday 12pm-8pm, Friday-Sunday 12pm-9pm. 2 Bridge Street, Old Saybrook.

La Marea continues to offer curbside pickup, which you can order by phone and pay by credit card only. Outdoor seating available Wednesday, Thursday + Sunday 4pm-9:30pm, Friday-Saturday 4pm-8pm. 732 Middlesex Turnpike, Old Saybrook.

Enjoy weekend lunch at Café Routier, Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30am-2pm. Dinner service available daily from 4pm-8:30pm. 1353 Boston Post Road, Westbrook.

Bar Bouchee reopens patio seating Tuesday-Saturday, 4pm-8pm. Takeout and curbside pickup hours continue Tuesday-Saturday, 4pm-7:30pm. 8 Scotland Ave., Madison.

Snack lakeside at the Cedar Lake Snack Shack, open Monday-Friday 3:30pm-7:30pm, Saturday 10:30am-7:30pm and Sunday 10:30am-7:00pm. Hours are subject to change based on weather. Text in your order to pick up in advance. Cedar Lake, West Main Street, Chester.