This article was last updated on January 17, 2022. It was originally published on December 30, 2020.
Outdoor dining was one of the silver linings during the pandemic, allowing eateries all over the state to get creative with their new set-ups. We’re highlighting a handful of restaurants embracing igloos, greenhouses, patios and other outdoor dining during the winter months.
Whether you’re a chef or restaurateur, or simply want to make sure your local favorite gets some love, we want to hear from you. Please send your tips about fun, warm and safe outdoor dining options to [email protected]. We’ll be updating this alphabetical list regularly.
5 West Pub • Cape May
This popular South Jersey pub offers dining options on their outdoor patio area. Large heaters are placed around the patio to ensure warmth during your delicious meal. Guests can enjoy dishes like crab nachos and brick oven pizza. Don’t miss out on 5 West’s Happy Hour specials, including deals like half-priced appetizers, $4 mimosas, and a pizza and pitcher of beer for just $15. Outdoor dining is weather permitting.
3729 Bayshore Road, North Cape May; 609-889-7000
AC Hotel • Bridgewater
This European-inspired hotel has transformed its patio into a space for guests to enjoy drinks and delicious plates outside. Igloos are available with a warm ambience and faux fur blankets to make it feel like a real ski lodge. Up to six guests of the same party can enjoy the cozy escape and reservations are available between 5 pm-12 am. Call or email [email protected] to reserve your igloo.
600 Somerset Boulevard, Bridgewater; 908-595-9100
Asbury Festhalle and Biergarten • Asbury Park
This popular Asbury spot has been setting up igloo seating since 2017, but this year it’s taking on a whole new meaning as a perfect spot for social distancing. These small seating bubbles are set up on the Biergarten’s rooftop overlooking Asbury Park. The Biergarten is also offering Large-Party Igloos, which can host up to 18 people at a time. Full dining is available, including German classics like hot pretzels with cheese, bratwurst with sauerkraut and cheese curds, as well as an extensive beer menu. Call ahead to reserve your igloo.
527 Lake Avenue, Asbury Park; 732-997-8767
B2 Bistro + Bar • North Brunswick
Outdoor igloos are available at B2 Bistro this winter. The igloo bubbles sit underneath twinkling lights and are available for when you walk-in or by reservation. With a menu ranging from sushi (sashimi and favorite rolls), wood-fired pizza (like Margherita and Buffalo chicken), and the raw bar (clams, oysters, lobster and more), B2 Bistro + Bar has something for everyone’s tastes.
230 Washington Place, North Brunswick; 732-297-3803
B2 Bistro + Bar • Point Pleasant Beach
This rustic bistro offers igloo dining on the patio. Available on the weekends, the dining bubbles seat four and are sanitized between each party. Enjoy a heated personal space and choose from selections of soup, fresh seafood, wood-fired pizza, and classic meat dishes (grilled ribeye, truffle chicken and filet mignon). Call to make a reservation.
709 Arnold Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach; 732-295-0709
Bell Works • Holmdel
This “Metroburb” is welcoming guests to their rooftop this winter, no matter the weather. Bell Works is introducing five new igloos this winter, the perfect place to enjoy lunch, take a call or catch up on work, or sip on a drink from their rooftop bar, Barbella. Call to make your reservation.
101 Crawfords Corner Road, Holmdel; 732-987-5857
Bloomfield Steakhouse • Bloomfield
This steakhouse is embracing outdoor dining by adding heated igloos to their patio space, each one seating two-to-three people. For bigger parties, there are also four heated tents that seat up to eight people. Four large fire pits also surround the patio with plenty of seating to enjoy the warmth. All set under twinkling lights, Bloomfield Steakhouse’s outdoor dining will be a wonderful (and warm!) dining experience for all guests.
409 Franklin Street, Bloomfield; 973-680-4500
The Blossom • Palisades Park
With a menu of delicious drinks, including red bean, cream brûlée, and black sugar lattes, the Blossom has been providing igloo domes before the onset of Covid. Providing privacy and an intimate dining setting, Blossom’s igloos are set up on their outdoor patio garden. Igloo dining requires a reservation and there is a minimum of $100 spending for four people.
320 Broad Avenue, Palisades Park; 201-947-4588
Cucina Calandra • Fairfield
Enjoy a warm dinner at this Mediterranean grill . Individualized seating is arranged underneath a large, heated tent. Decorated with twinkle lights, this winter dining experience is like no other. Choose from an array of dishes, including pastas, pizza, burgers and salads. Heaters and fire pits are also set up outside.
216 Route 46 East, Fairfield; 973-575-7720
Carlucci’s Waterfront Grill • Mount Laurel
Classic Italian food is just what you’ll get at Carlucci’s, and you’ll be able to stay warm on their outdoor patio during your meal. Their outdoor patio includes a large tent, with the addition of heat lamps and beautiful twinkling lights. With transparent sides in the tent, guests are still able to enjoy the beautiful view of the Rancocas Creek that Carlucci’s has to offer. Reservations for the tent can be made online.
876 Centerton Road, Mount Laurel; 856-235-5737
Fig and Lily Garden • Morristown
This Mediterranean restaurant had also introduced igloo dining pre-Covid, and they continue to keep their igloos standing throughout all kinds of weather. With independent floors inside each dome (and heaters!), Fig and Lily Garden is able to keep these spaces standing through snow, rain, and more, to create a unique dining experience for all of its guests. The menu includes Mediterranean dishes like handmade grape leaves, falafel, and kofte rolls with ground beef and lamb, and it’s BYO.
2 Cattano Avenue, Morristown; 973-539-3999
Focacceria Ristorante • Basking Ridge
Focacceria Ristorante has morphed their outdoor patio into a beautiful winter seating arrangement. The patio is full of heaters and fire pits so you can enjoy a warm night out this winter. Homemade focaccia bread is made every morning as well as fresh pastas and desserts, with a catalog of classic Italian dishes. Reserve your outdoor seating arrangements online.
26 Church Street, Basking Ridge; 908-604-2440
The Hamilton Inn • Jersey City
With a more creative approach to outdoor dining, the Hamilton Inn has turned their outdoor area into CAMP Hamilton. Complete with individual cabins and outdoor heating lamps, each space has its own table and curtains for privacy. You can order from the RV that is stationed on the patio to add to the camping atmosphere. Sip on hot cocktails like Irish Coffee and the Bonita Apple Bum (with bourbon, apple cider and cinnamon-sugar rum) while keeping warm in your own personal cabin.
708 Jersey Avenue, Jersey City; 201-354-1182
Il Tavolo di Palmisano • Hoboken
Just like many other places in New Jersey, this Italian restaurant has added igloos to their outdoor dining patio. You’ll be able to stay warm throughout your meal with the addition of heaters. Their weekly specials menu rotates between an assortment of delicious dishes, including snails in a Sicilian sauce and jumbo stuffed shells.
700 Clinton Street, Hoboken; 201-345-5980
It’s Greek to Me • Ridgewood
Straying from the outdoor bubble trend, this North Jersey restaurant has created a new solution to the cold weather. It’s Greek to Me has launched their greenhouse dining option, with seven greenhouses on the sidewalks of Ridgewood. The heated outdoor boxes allow guests to enjoy authentic Greek dishes (including stuffed grape leaves and spanakopita) with a bit more space than an outdoor igloo, and they are disinfected after every use.
21 East Ridgewood Avenue, Ridgewood; 201-612-2600
The Kitchen Step • Jersey City
This modern-American bistro is making outdoor dining a memorable experience with their greenhouses. Lined down Jersey Avenue, each greenhouse seats small parties and is decorated with beautiful hanging lights and lit candles for a memorable dining experience. Their outdoor patio is also complete with tables and standing heaters. Reserve your table or greenhouse online or over the phone.
500 Jersey Avenue, Jersey City; 201-721-6115
ManaFirkin Brewing Company • Manahawkin
Enjoy ManaFirkin’s catalogue of beers underneath your own personal igloo. The drink menu includes fun and creative names for their brews, like Cobra Kai (pale ale), Going Kiltless (a Scottish malt smoked over cherry wood), Trippin Monkey (with a banana aroma) and many more. Reservation times last for 90 minutes with a $50 rental fee. Need more incentive to visit? We named ManaFirkin one of the Jersey Shore’s best breweries.
450 East Bay Avenue, Manahawkin; 609-756-4798
Northern Soul Kitchen & Bar • Hoboken
Northern Soul has created their own version of small enclosures, naming them “Soul Shacks.” Each one has its own infrared heating and USB outlets. Enjoy a night out with friends and sip on some of their delicious Cozy Rumy, made with rum, amaro and apple cider.
700 1st Street, Hoboken; 201-217-8784
Proving Ground • Highlands
Named after Sandy Hook’s historical proving grounds, this waterfront restaurant is embracing outdoor dining at the Jersey Shore. Proving Ground has added large heaters to their patio as well as a few fire pits. All outdoor dining is reliant on the weather. Their menu is packed with shareable plates, such as handhelds and brunch favorites. With lights overhead and a beautiful view of the water, sitting outside will have you longing for those warm summer days.
56 Shrewsbury Avenue, Highlands; 732-872-2266
Publick House • Mountainside
With a menu changing daily, this modern gastropub is constantly showcasing new and fresh dishes, and they now offer an outdoor dining set-up. Publick House has multiple heaters and forced hot air to keep guests warm through their meals with weather permitting. With 14 craft beers on tap, an extensive wine list, and seasonal cocktails, a night out at Publick House will feel like a normal experience in an unusual time.
Publick House, 899 Mountain Avenue, Mountainside; 908-233-2355
Saddle River Inn • Saddle River
Enjoy fine dining at this beautiful barn that dates to 1981. Aside from indoor dining, the Saddle River Inn has fire pits outside for their guests to enjoy. With a beautiful view of the Saddle River, you can indulge in chef Jamie Knott’s stellar dishes. Enjoy menu items like Long Island duck (served with lo mein, bok choy and crispy rice), the Maribar (filet mignon with roast shallot mash), and housemade cavatelli bolognese.
2 Barnstable Court, Saddle River; 201-825-4016
Sapori Trattoria • Collingswood
This Italian restaurant is continuing to serve their traditional dishes through the winter season. Their heated and enclosed outdoor patio is covered by a wooden overhead piece. Chef Franco Lombardo’s classic Italian dishes include tortellini alla boscaiola, fettuccine al porcini, and fresh cannolis and tartufi. BYO.
601 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood; 856-858-2288
Stern and Bow • Closter
Open from Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner, Stern and Bow has added heat lamps to their outdoor dining section. This casual American eatery does not just have lunch and dinner options; they also serve brunch on the weekends. Reservations can be made online.
171 Schraalenburgh Road, Closter; 201-750-3350
The Stirling Hotel • Stirling
Outdoor seating at this hotel includes a large tent with heaters and a private dining table for up to 10 people by fireplaces. Stay warm with the hotel’s hot cocktails, including a hot buttered rum, as well as creative classics like the spiced ginger cranberry margarita and pomegranate sangria. All reservations are under a two-hour time slot.
227 Main Avenue, Stirling; 908-647-6919
Town Bar + Kitchen • Morristown
This bar and grill—one of New Jersey Monthly’s favorites in Morristown—has Morristown’s only rooftop dining space, and this winter it is complete with fireplaces to keep guests warm. The rooftop stays open all year with weather permitting. Enjoy a meal out with a weekly specials menu and delicious plates and cocktails. Reservations are strongly suggested and can be made by calling Town.
80 Elm Street, Morristown; 973-889-8696
Washington House • Basking Ridge
Al fresco dining is something Washington House is embracing. Their outdoor tent features long wooden tables and twinkling string lights, with plenty of space for social distancing. Menu specials change every week—ranging from dishes like strip steak to carrot ginger soup. Call to reserve your spot.
55 S. Finley Avenue, Basking Ridge; 908-766-7610