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Delaware Restaurants Offering Outdoor Dining This Winter

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Photo courtesy of SoDel Concepts

Don’t let winter weather keep you from enjoying delicious dishes! Make the most of the season with an al fresco meal at these eateries.

Neither gray skies nor a stiff breeze can keep Parisians from sitting outside at their favorite café. Now Delawareans are developing the same savoir vivre. Since the pandemic, diners have bundled up to gather around a heater with friends and family.

“Every night, people are sitting outside,” says Dan Butler, owner of Piccolina Toscana in Trolley Square. “Sometimes, it’s actually quite chilly, but they still prefer to do that.”

Area restaurants are catering to these cold-weather consumers. “We will be doing outside dining as long as the guests want it,” says Joe Van Horn, owner of Chelsea Tavern in Wilmington’s downtown district.

Here are some local establishments offering outdoor dining this winter—if the weather isn’t too extreme and there is adequate staffing.


Upstate

BBC Tavern

Owner David Dietz has upped his game for the outdoor dining trend. The Greenville hot spot’s patio has expanded several times and offers firepits and heaters. It’s so cozy, you can enjoy a frothy cold beer in comfort.
4019 Kennett Pike, Greenville; 655-3785

Buckley’s Tavern

With heaters, the back patio will remain open if it’s comfortable. The front porch has heaters and can be enclosed with plastic sides that have openings for fresh air.
5812 Kennett Pike, Centreville; 656-9776

outdoor-dining

Keep cozy at Wilmington’s Corner Bistro, which warms the patio’s ambiance with a pergola and space heaters./Photo courtesy of Corner Bistro

Corner Bistro

Located in Talleyville, Corner Bistro now has a patio section that can seat 20. Defined by a pergola, the space boasts French-style tables and heaters.
3604 Silverside Road, Wilmington; 477-1778

Snuff Mill Butchery & Wine Bar

Diners like to sit outside partly because it’s so difficult to land a dining room reservation. Heaters and red-and-black plaid blankets add to the appeal, and if you squint at the clock in Independence Mall, you can pretend you’re in Philly.
1601 Concord Pike, Wilmington; 691-7149

restaurant

Tonic Seafood & Steak offers heated outdoor dining with a street view, perfect for people watching./Photo by Tonic Seafood & Steak

Piccolina Toscana

The hanging ferns may have succumbed to a cold snap, but the outdoor dining space is still open for business. The heated patio is semi-enclosed, and diminutive Edison-style bulbs twinkle at night.
1412 N. Dupont St., Wilmington; 654-8001

Chelsea Tavern

Last year, the downtown Wilmington restaurant expanded into what was once an alleyway, and the alfresco addition is a hit, especially for brunch. The heaters will keep you toasty.
821 N. Market St., Wilmington; 482-3333

Tonic Seafood & Steak

Tonic has outside seating for 20 on the restaurant’s bar side and 24 on the dining room side. Both covered areas have heaters.
111 W. 11th St., Wilmington; 777-2040

Park Café

The Wawaset Park-area eatery has a pergola-covered patio with pyramid-shaped heaters. Order inside; dine outside.
2510 W. 5th St., Wilmington; 543-2233

Caffe Gelato

Owner Ryan German has led the charge when it comes to alfresco dining. He’s leveraged sidewalks, parking spots, and the front and back of the restaurant. He even lets guests dine inside when they’re outside; in 2020, the eatery added greenhouse-like structures for private dining with a view.
90 E. Main St., Newark; 738-5811

outdoor-dining

Snag a blanket and enjoy the view at GrainH20./Photo courtesy of Grain H2O

Klondike Kate’s Restaurant & Saloon

Front porch dining space features heaters and a street view.
158 E. Main St., Newark; 737-6100

Grain H20

Located on the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, this location has firepits embedded in outdoor tables, perfect for staying toasty from appetizer to apéritif.
3006 Summit Harbour Place, Bear; 440-4404

Crooked Hammock Brewery

The backyard is the charm for this brewpub, so the crew will keep the party going outside as long as possible.
316 Auto Park Drive, Middletown; 601-7837


Downstate

Crooked Hammock Brewery

Enjoy an expansive outdoor area with games, seating and a beachy firepit.
36707 Crooked Hammock Way, Lewes; 644-7837

Grain on the Rocks

Like its sibling on the canal, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal location has tablelike firepits—and a water view.
43 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes; 291-3900

Bramble & Brine at the Buttery

This new restaurant, expected to open last month, retained the covered porch (minus the plastic sides), and is heated.
102 Second St., Lewes

dough-bar

Enjoy Dough Bar creations from your own bubble in Milton./Photo by Rachel Swick Mavity

Dough Bar

Enjoy rustic comfort food and hand-tossed pizzas at Dough Bar in Milton. The outdoor bubble seating is great for small parties.
109 Union St., Milton; 386-7432

Thompson Island Brewing Co.

The beer garden of the Route 1 brewpub is tented and heated. The restaurant is part of SoDel Concepts, which offers outdoor seating and firepits at most locations. Visit sodelconcepts.com for a list of restaurants.

The Blue Hen

The downtown Rehoboth restaurant featured a firepit long before they went mainstream. It will quickly warm your feathers.
33 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach; 278-7842

sodel-concepts

SoDel Concepts offers several outdoor dining options with firepits at its locations, including this cozy spot at Fish On in Lewes./Photo courtesy of SoDel Concepts


In Maryland

Chesapeake Inn Restaurant & Marina

Situated on the C&D Canal, the restaurant has a heated tent that affixes to the building for extra seating.
605 Second St., Chesapeake City, Md.; 410-885-2040

Related: Where to Eat Outside at the Delaware Beaches This Fall

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