Restaurants in the Philadelphia suburbs have been allowed to offer outdoor dining for over a week now, with the exception of South Jersey, where it was allowed to start Monday, June 15. And while some restaurants hastily set up the patio furniture six feet apart and booted up their digital menus, others are playing it more cautiously, sticking with takeout or abstaining from service altogether.
We checked in on all 25 of Inquirer critic Craig LaBan’s suburban favorites from his 2017 Dining Guide — dedicated to the Philly suburbs — to see who’s open during the pandemic.
Downingtown’s destination for Chettinad curries, Hyderabadi biryani, and prawns in coconut masala gravy is closed during coronavirus. No word on when it will reopen.
889 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, 610-269-9600, banglesindiancuisine.com
Birchrunville Store Cafe
A general store turned French BYOB, this Chester County cafe is open for limited, weather-dependent outdoor dining (and takeout). This weekend’s menu includes lobster rolls, diver sea scallop ceviche, veal tenderloin scaloppini, and grilled swordfish with sweet corn salsa.
1403 Hollow Rd., Birchrunville, 610-827-9002, birchrunvillestorecafe.com
Chip Roman’s seafood-centric Conshohocken bistro is in the midst of making an outdoor dining plan but is open for takeout . Recent pickup menus offered New England-style blue crab bisque, whole-smoked BBQ chicken, grilled Jersey asparagus, loaded pasta salad, and chocolate-chunk brownies.
119 Fayette St., Conshohocken, 610-397-0888, blackfishrestaurant.com
Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille
One of the region’s pioneers of serious vegetarian cooking, Blue Sage hasn’t committed to outdoor dining yet, but it is serving takeout for lunch and dinner. Chef-owner Mike Jackson’s menu draws from diverse inspirations: There’s red lentil-butternut squash korma, ginger-scallion ramen, goat cheese nachos, and K-pop tacos.
727 2nd St. Pike, Southampton, 215-942-8888, bluesagevegetariangrille.com
Alas, you can still only get dinner and margaritas to-go at Fort Washington’s branch (which LaBan considers to be the best) of the Feliz family. But outdoor eating was expected to start June 17 on the patio at La Calaca Feliz in Fairmount. Make reservations, it will fill up fast.
424 S. Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, 215-646-1320, cantinafeliz.com
Diner by day, adventurous bistro by night, this family-run BYOB perched on the Delaware isn’t taking the outdoor-dining leap at the moment. But you can order takeout for lunch or dinner Tuesday through Saturday. The outfit puts out dishes like chickpea caesar salad, sourdough gemelli, and Yardley hot chicken for dinner, and cheesesteaks, cobb salads, and turkey sandwiches for lunch.
11 S. Delaware Ave., Yardley, 215-493-6394, charcoalbyob.com
Often cited as one of the best Korean restaurants in the region, DuBu appears to be closed for the duration of the shutdown. No word on when it might reopen.
1333 W. Cheltenham Ave., Elkins Park, 215-782-3828, thedubu.com
» READ MORE: Craig LaBan's top restaurants in Philly’s suburbs
Farm & Fisherman Tavern
While the Cherry Hill branch of this seasonal-ingredient-driven tavern is just embarking on outdoor dining, its Horsham counterpart has been back at it since early June. They’re seating guests on the patio Wednesday through Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m. with a 75-minute limit on tables. That’s plenty of time to enjoy chips and 24-hour onion dip or za’atar wings, plus a roast pork sandwich or a cauliflower panini and a cold drink. But if you’d rather have no limit, both locations offer takeout.
575 Horsham Rd., Horsham, 267-673-8974, farmandfisherman.com
Fischer’s Pelican Restaurant
The South Jersey BYOB is only doing takeout and delivery, including “stimulus package” dinners, featuring three courses for $27. A recent menu included clams casino, back fin saute, pan-seared scallops, and zucchini crab cake.
508 Hurffville Crosskeys Rd., Sewell, 856-589-6969, fischerspelican.com
The owners of this Main Line BYOB, Italian-born chef Gianuluca Demontis and wife Rosemarie Tran, are working to arrange more capacity for outdoor seating with anext-door neighbor. In the meantime, they’re open for takeout (with regular dinner specials), and the patio at sister restaurant L’Anima, in Graduate Hospital, is open.
816 Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, 610-525-1007, facebook.com/Fraschetta-1031653636969870
801 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, 856-240-1164, hearthsidebyob.com
Henri’s Hotts Barbeque
Some of the best barbecue in the area, this Hammonton hub hasn’t been slowed by the shutdown. It’s been cranking out takeout platters of Doug Henri’s slow-smoked meat, hush puppies, coleslaw, baked beans, onion rings, and more. Its outdoor tables — extra-distanced — are open for seating, Thursday through Sunday, noon to 7 p.m.
1003 E. Black Horse Pike, Hammonton, 609-270-7268, bestbbqsj.com
La Peña Mexicana
This colorful cafe in Kennett Square sadly doesn’t have the space for outdoor dining, so it’s sticking with takeout. It slings tostadas, sopes, tacos, and quesadillas, but the chimichangas — a flaky tortilla shell wrapped around meticulously layered rice, beans, and meats — are what keep LaBan coming back for more.
609 W. Cypress St., Kennett Square, 610-925-2651
This tiny Upper Bucks BYOB has been closed during the pandemic. Until it’s sufficiently safe to reopen, Perkasie residents will have to get their eight-course tasting-menu fix elsewhere.
519 W. Walnut St., Perkasie, 215-257-2264, maizeonwalnut.com
» READ MORE: Where to eat in Philly’s suburbs
This Phoenixville pioneer from chef-owner Andrew Deery closed last December after a 15-year run.
Though the King of Prussia mall outpost of chef Scott Anderson’s modern-global restaurant has shuttered, the Princeton original remains. It’s open for takeout (with fare as high-minded as ever, including beef tartare larb salad, bacon beignets, and Szechuan short rib ramen), and was kicking off outdoor dining this week.
66 Witherspoon St., Princeton, 609-688-8808, mistralprinceton.com
Park Place Cafe and Restaurant
A pandemic hasn’t stopped chef Phil Manganaro from foraging for ingredients for his South Jersey BYOB. Instead, he’s turned it into a drive-through. Expect styrofoam containers and red-and-white checkered paper liners, but not french fries and chicken nuggets. Manganaro is serving items like reubens, burgers, and chicken sandwiches, but they’re peppered with garlic scapes, Pine Barrens barbecue sauce, and pickled ramps.
7 E. Park Ave., Merchantville, 856-662-2200, parkplacecafeandrestaurant.com
The deck is open, depending on the weather, at Malvern’s long-running Italian spot from Sean and Kelly Weinberg. There’s takeout, too, so you can enjoy the whipped ricotta bruschetta, spaghetti and crabs in local cherry tomato sauce, and butterscotch budino for here or to-go.
7 W. King St., Malvern, 610-644-4009, restaurantalba.com
One of Doylestown’s best restaurants, set in a Civil War-era livery and helmed by classically trained chef Mark Matyas, has not reopened yet during the pandemic.
100 S. Main St., Doylestown, 215-348-0222, slatebleu.com
The fine-dining magnet in Kennett Square is sticking with takeout for now, which means you can enjoy its locavore fare sans reservation. But if you’re in the mood to dine out, two of its sister restaurants downtown — Talula’s Garden and The Love — have reopened with outdoor seating.
102 W. State St., Kennett Square, 610-444-8255, talulastable.com/tt
Teresa’s Next Door
Booze — rare beers, biodynamic wines, fine whiskeys — is the draw at this Wayne gastropub, but a menu of elevated bar food matches the tone. All is available for pickup (and delivery, depending on the order), and outdoor dining has started on a first-come, first-served basis. Wayne Township has also set up a tent across the street where Teresa’s customers can eat and drink.
124 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, 610-293-9909, teresas-nextdoor.com
The Butcher & Barkeep
Sipping a craft cocktail and noshing on creative small plates from Harleysville’s lively beer bar (a sibling to Northern Liberties’ Standard Tap) will be all the more satisfying under one of the tents the owners have set up outside. (Make a reservation.) If you can’t get in, there’s always takeout.
712 Main St., Harleysville, 267-932-8407, thebutcherandbarkeep.com
The Original Clam Tavern
A cherished Delaware County throwback, this old-school fish house is open for takeout (clams casino, chowder, crab cakes, lobster ravioli, softshell crabs), but no sign of outdoor dining.
339 E. Broadway Ave., Clifton Heights, 610-623-9537, clamtavern.net
Tired Hands Fermentaria
Top-notch beers (and pizza) galore are available for pickup and delivery from one of the area’s best breweries, but they’re holding off on outdoor dining for now. It’s still uncertain whether its outlets in the city (a beer garden in Fishtown and its relatively new neighbor, St. Oner’s) will reopen outdoors.
35 Cricket Terrace, Ardmore, 484-413-2983, tiredhands.com
Perhaps the most takeout-friendly fare in this list, the pizza at this Phoenixville staple is Neapolitan-style — thin, puffy crust, blistered edges, soupy center. You’ll be able to enjoy it at the restaurant, too: Its sidewalk dining has started back up, and the town has decided to block off streets on weekends to allow restaurants more room for al fresco dining.
249 Bridge St., Phoenixville, 610-933-1355, vecchiapizzeriamenu.com
The Collingswood BYOB from chef Joey Baldino is back for outdoor dining with three seatings per night It’s also been serving takeout dinners for two on Fridays and Saturdays, ordered in advance from sister restaurant Palizzi Social Club’s site.
618 W. Collings Ave., Collingswood, 856-854-2670, palizzisocial.com