August is nearing its end, and although the summer officially runs into late September, we all know that once you flip the calendar, it’s all over but the crying.
It’s always sad to see summer end, but the upside is that the weather is close to ideal around this time. It’s still plenty warm enough to spend lots of time outside, but it’s generally not going to be oppressively and swelteringly hot, sending you running for cover in an air conditioned building.
All this means that this is the perfect time to go have a nice meal outside, before many of the restaurants pack up their patio furniture for the season.
Luckily, Concord has so many great options for outdoor dining that you probably won’t even have enough time to try them all before the season comes to a close. But if that’s the case, how do you determine which one(s) to try while you still can?
That’s where the Insider comes in.
The city has a wide assortment of outdoor eating options to offer, and many of them bring something different to the table. Whether you like to be right in the middle of the hustle and bustle or have a little more privacy, you can find an option that fits your desires. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert – there are outdoor options for all of these, too. From pizza to Mexican to ice cream to classic American fare, there’s an option for every palate out there.
We’ve rounded up info on as many outdoor dining spots as we could to give you a little guide to help you decide where you want to grab an outdoor bite. As always, this is not a definitive list but more of a general guide, and you should always check with the businesses directly if you have any questions or want to learn more.
Main Street is, naturally, a hot spot for outdoor dining. After the city made over downtown a few years ago, the sidewalks got wider – and generally more pleasant – which meant more room for eating out there. The options are plentiful.
If you’re in the mood for some gourmet tapas, Whiskey & Wine is your place. There’s room for four guests to eat outside, and while that is not a large capacity, it means you can basically have the space to yourself, which is always nice.
For a sweet – or savory – taste of France, the Crepe Escape (just four doors down from Whiskey & Wine) is a perfect choice. Enjoy a crepe or a homemade Pop Tart (or two) at a small table on the sidewalk right across the street from the State House. This spot makes for a cozy little date with a nice view.
Just a few steps away is the Barley House. The restaurant has a roped-off section of tables with room for 20 guests. The divider separating the tables from the sidewalk means you can order drinks out here, and like the Crepe Escape, the outdoor seats at the Barley House offer nice views of the State House grounds right across the street.
If dessert is what you’re in the mood for, Orange Leaf has you covered. A couple tables out front give you a nice spot to eat your custom-made sundaes while you do some people-watching in the heart of downtown.
A few doors down from Orange Leaf is The Post, one of the newer downtown eateries. The Post offers 20 seats out front where you can chow down on breakfast or lunch, and just about everything on the menu will make you want to stay for seconds – or thirds.
Continuing south down the main drag, you’ll encounter a section of the sidewalk that widens out with a bunch of umbrella-fitted tables. When you see those red umbrellas, you know you’re at The Works Café. The Works’s patio area has room for 32 guests, and you’ll often find most if not all of those seats occupied with people enjoying fresh bagels or sandwiches.
A couple doors down is Dos Amigos Burritos, another wildly popular lunch venue. While there’s only room for eight outdoor diners here, there’s nothing quite like having one of those loaded fish burritos on the sidewalk on a warm afternoon or evening.
If you’re in the mood for something Eastern, Siam Orchid is a very safe bet. This small Thai bistro has eight seats outside, which makes for a good spot for a small lunch or dinner with a few friends – especially if those friends love something spicy.
Crossing over to South Main Street, the first eatery you’ll notice is Live Juice. This hip and trendy juice bar has umbrella tables for 16 guests, and much like most of the places on this list so far, these outdoor tables are often packed with the post-gym or work lunch break crowd going to town on fancy salads or exotic, healthy shakes.
If fine dining with a tad bit of privacy is more your speed, you’ll want to hit up O Steaks & Seafood – O’s, to the locals. This restaurant has a patio that is slightly pushed back from the sidewalk, so you get to be in the thick of things while not actually being right on the sidewalk. There’s enough space out here for 42 guests, and it’s a great spot for an outdoor dinner of lobster mac and cheese or a wagyu beef burger.
Next door to O’s is Vibes Gourmet Burgers, which now has a new and enhanced menu. Vibes is known for its unique and delicious burgers made with vegetarian-fed beef and fresh, locally baked brioche buns.
For casual dining with more privacy than most on this list, hit up Constantly Pizza. Constantly is busy pretty much every day (or should we say, constantly?), so the outdoor patio, which is separated from the sidewalk by a gate, is a good spot to eat if you’re looking to relax a little and have a conversation over a slice or two.
A little farther south is True Brew Café, inside Gibson’s Bookstore. This pleasant little patio area features seating for eight, and you’ll often find people sipping coffee or nibbling on breakfast sandwiches while reading a book or doing some work on a laptop out here.
For an elevated view, try The Draft, which has a patio on its roof that can accommodate up to 40 people. This is a great nighttime hangout for dinner or just drinks with some friends.
If you want to eat on the other side of Main Street, Concord Food Co-op is your option. Go inside and custom make your meal from the high-end hot food bar and enjoy it on the sidewalk at one of the eight seats out there.
You don’t have to sit right on the main drag if you want to grab a bite outside downtown. Eagle Square is home to Tandy’s, which has a big fenced-off patio with room for 54. Across the square is Eagle Square Deli, which has eight seats for the lunch crowd. Both options provide nice views of the fountain area of the square and a respite from the busy crowd on Main Street.
Bicentennial Square is also a great spot, with True Brew Barista and Margaritas both providing pleasant patios with views of a fountain. Bicentennial Square also tends to offer a little more shade, if you prefer a slightly cooler spot.
You can also grab some ice cream at Granite State Candy Shoppe and enjoy that on one of the tables next to the shop. No matter what you’re eating, Bicentennial Square is a nice place to do it.
If you like your meals wholesome and healthy, The Clean Take is your spot. Tucked away around by the back entrance to Joe King’s, The Clean Take has a menu that changes weekly and 10 outdoor seats to choose from.
While downtown might get all the hype, there are outdoor dining options all over the city.
C.C. Tomatoes on Fisherville Road has a private patio area where you can enjoy gourmet pizza while listening to some live music. If you haven’t tried C.C.’s before, you owe it to yourself to give it a go.
The Red Blazer has a few outdoor tables if you’re looking to sip any of their dozens of draft beer options or munch on some chicken tenders and fries.
Looking to have a bite while you catch the Sox game (probably not, at this point, but still)? Buffalo Wild Wings has a big outdoor section with a canopy to protect you from the elements and big TVs so you don’t miss a second of whichever game you’re trying to follow.
El Rodeo offers another Mexican option for those looking to avoid Main Street. Outdoor tables and umbrellas come with table service here, where you can order as many tacos or enchiladas as you want without having to get up and go inside.
Arnie’s Place is also a very popular spot for both ice cream and barbecue. Picnic tables with umbrellas provide a nice place to wolf down a pulled pork sandwich and chase it down with a T-shirt Sundae.
Ballard’s is another ice cream joint that also serves hot food, and you can enjoy it all in the backyard-like atmosphere of the property, complete with the big wooden train the kids love.
There are plenty of other options in the city, but as you can see, we’re out of space, so go explore and find what suits you best!