By Liz Johnson
Soaking up sun while savoring tasty morsels is a favorite summertime pastime for many foodies. Pile on an idyllic setting and you have the recipe for the perfect outdoor dining experience. Here are a few favorites from Hunterdon Happening List voters:
The Clean Plate Kitchen
49 Main Street, Clinton
Voted the Best Outdoor Dining Place and Best Scenic View in the 2019 Happening List, The Clean Plate Kitchen in Clinton has an expansive outdoor dining patio surrounded by gardens and overlooking the South Branch River. The restaurant specializes in farm-to-table fare, particularly organic and vegan dishes. (They also won Best Salad.) “The atmosphere on the patio by the river makes everything even better,” wrote one reviewer.
11 Bridge Street, Lambertville
As if dining in a renovated 19th century train station wasn’t charming enough, riverside dining completes the enchantment of this Hunterdon Happening List favorite. Lambertville Station is a 2019 Happening List Winner (and Finalist) of multiple categories, including Best Appetizer, People Watching and Spot for Singles, . It offers seasonal al fresco dining with more than 50 boutique wines to choose from to accompany the meal.
62 Trenton Ave., Frenchtown
Bright and artsy, the farm-to-table restaurant with a patio for breakfast and creative entrees with global touches also offers up some great appetizers. It was named a finalist for Best Appetizer by Hunterdon Happening List voters.
The National Hotel
31 Race Street, Frenchtown
Voted Hunterdon County’s Best Kept Secret in the 2019 Happening List, this 19th century restaurant and hotel offers perfect people-watching seating on its front porch. It was a favorite haunt of Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakely back in the day.
Chelsea’s Restaurant and Pub
1051 Route 22, Lebanon
An English-style pub serving American fare accompanied by craft beers, the burgers and wings are what draws Hunterdon Happening List voters.
18 Main Street, Lambertville
This Bring Your Own Bottle Hunterdon Happening List Winner offers a simple but perfect menu prepared in an open kitchen that allows diners to watch master chef and owner Dennis Foy at work, according to Zagats, which gave the establishment a 4.5 out of 5 rating. Open Thursday through Sunday, cash only.
Red Barn Milk Company
392 Route 31, Ringoes
Sometimes the best of summer is spent at a roadside joint, eating juicy burgers and golden French fries, topped off with rich, ice cream. For Hunterdon Happening List voters, Red Barn Milk Company fits the bill. The food is sourced from local farms and the ice cream is homemade. It was named Winner of Best French Fries.
Blue Fish Grill
50 Mine Street, Flemington
Known for its fish tacos and patio seating, this Hunterdon Happening List favorite features a wood-burning grill. Owned by Stacy and Kelly Casanova, who were trained by Chef Wolfgang Puck, it’s a Hunterdon Happening List Finalist for Best Seafood Restaurant.
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