Food & Drink

The 12 Best Spots for Outdoor Dining in the Hudson Valley

Escape to the north for fresh air and even fresher fare.

the roundhouse patio
Smoke on the Water | The Roundhouse
Smoke on the Water | The Roundhouse

The Hudson Valley may be in the final phase of COVID-19 restrictions, but understandably, many restaurant patrons would still prefer to sit outside rather than indoors. Luckily, this verdant area north of NYC boasts fantastic farm-to-table restaurants with far more outdoor space than your average city spot. But even so, don’t forget to keep your distance from other diners and, of course, wear your mask anytime you get up from the table.

From storied resorts with jaw-dropping lake views to dumplings in cooler-than-you Hudson, the area has a menu for every type of diner. Check out some of our favorites below.

The Amsterdam

Rhinebeck
This charming farm-to-table spot, housed in a 1700s Dutch townhouse in the middle of town, quickly became an area favorite after opening in 2017. Now, after a brief closure during the pandemic and with new chef Randi Jimenez leading the kitchen, the restaurant will be ready for outdoor service starting on July 27. Guests have multiple options when it comes to outdoor dining: on the porch, in the patio, or in the oversized backyard. Inside, what was once the main dining room has been converted into a market, which will sell everything from produce to cheese to charcuterie.

Backbar

Hudson
Chef Zakary Pelaccio first made headlines with New York’s Fatty Crab and Fatty ‘Cue, but his upstate Malaysian spot Backbar is certainly worth the trip to trendy Hudson. Currently, they’re serving guests in their covered outdoor garden, which is a lovely spot to enjoy their signature slushy cocktails like the Va Va Voom, made with gin, cinnamon, passionfruit and peach. The food menu includes three different types of dumplings, plus innovative takes on bar food like cumin-spiced tots served with chili jam, and black pepper wings with a fish sauce glaze.

Butterfield and Butcher & Bar at Hasbrouck House

Stone Ridge
The history practically drips off of Hasbrouck House, an 18th century Dutch Colonial mansion that’s been converted into a hotel in Stone Ridge. Its food offerings, however, are anything but dated. The hotel has two dining concepts, both open to non-guests and both of which have ample outdoor seating. Butterfield, the more fine-dining concept, hosts guests on its bluestone patio, under the shade of a 150-year-old locust tree. The seasonally changing menu features items like pilsner-battered cauliflower and Beaverkill trout with a citrus vinaigrette. Butcher & Bar, the more casual outdoor burger shack, serves classic burgers, hot dogs, and ice cream sandwiches. Diners there are welcome to picnic on the hotel’s great lawn, which also boasts giant versions of Jenga and Connect Four.

The Barn at Bedford Post Inn

Bedford
Located in what might be Westchester’s prettiest town, one of the restaurants at this eight-room inn officially opened again this month, helmed by new chef, Roxanne Spruance. The new menu is classic American, but with Asian influence, like the charred octopus served with togarashi labne and candied kumquat. Wash it down with cheekily named cocktails like the Blueberry Presbyterian, made with bourbon, ginger, and blueberries. The Barn’s idyllic patio can accommodate up to 45 people (with tables spaced six feet apart, of course), but reserve in advance: they’ve been fully booked every weekend since reopening.

Essie’s

Poughkeepsie
Bring your appetite when you arrive at this popular spot in Poughkeepsie, with a Southern-fusion menu by CIA-trained executive chef Brandon Walker. Essie’s menu is inspired by Walker’s roots in both the Caribbean and the American South, but dishes are prepared with local and seasonal Hudson Valley ingredients. Some of the most tempting dishes include grit croquettes served with garlic aioli and a jerk-spiced pork loin with roasted sweet plantains. A tent erected outside ensures diners can sit rain or shine.

Four Brothers Pizza Inn and Four Brothers Drive-In Theater

Amenia
This mini-chain serves some of the best pizza in the Hudson Valley, and the Amenia location is certainly the most fun. Guests can dine on the large outdoor patio and feast on innovative pies like the Greek-inflected spinach pizza, served white with mozzarella and feta. After dinner, walk a few short steps over to its sister property, the Four Brothers Drive-In Theater, which is actually the newest drive-in in the country. Here, you can order fantastic desserts like their Nutella milkshake from a takeout window, and then catch classic flicks from the comfort of your car.

Lis Grill and Canteen, aka Lisbar

Kingston
Located in Kingston’s Midtown Arts District, this spot which used to offer Polish tapas has now rebranded as an outdoor drinking and dining destination. Grab a seat on their newly expanded outdoor patio and order a boozy sno-cone: The current special is called Scandalous June, and features gin, vodka, ginger lemonade, and thyme. Their new menu, all of which is cooked on their home-built wood fired grill, still features some Polish influence, but overall, draws inspiration from all over the world. Begin with the fire-roasted corn, served with Bulgarian feta, harissa, and butter, and then dive into the meats, like kielbasa kebabs served on naan flatbread. And of course, on a blazing hot day, don’t forget to ask for a bowl of their summer borscht.

The Granary at Mohonk Mountain House

New Paltz
The grande dame of Hudson Valley hotels is set in one of the area’s most scenic enclaves and its outdoor restaurant certainly takes excellent advantage of this. The Granary is Mohonk’s beautiful lakefront dining spot and features classic American barbecue dishes like spare ribs, burgers, corn on the cob, and homemade pies. For non-guests, booking a reservation here also grants you access to the hotel’s famed 85 miles of hiking trails, so we recommend making a whole day of it. Note that meal reservations must be made by phone before entering the property, otherwise you might be turned away at the resort’s gates.

Phoenicia Diner

Phoenicia
You probably have a friend who’s eaten at this cheffed-up version of a diner and posted the appropriately stylish shots to Instagram. But, there’s a reason this spot in sleepy Phoenicia draws crowds: It’s as good as they say it is. Whether you grab a hearty breakfast skillet that’s overflowing with chorizo and tortillas, or order the old-school turkey meatloaf dinner, the classic dishes here are the platonic ideal. The oversized lot next to the restaurant has ample space for outdoor dining; get there early to snag a table with an umbrella.

Silvia

Woodstock
All these years later, Woodstock may still have a reputation for laid-back, vegan restaurants, but elegant Silvia would be at home in any Manhattan neighborhood. The chic space specializes in locally sourced, vegetable-forward preparations, many of which are cooked with their wood-fired grill. Current standout summer dishes include a refreshing watermelon and grilled halloumi salad, and seared scallops served with a corn and basil puree. Diners can enjoy their meal on a romantic outdoor porch, with leafy boughs that climb up a trellis.

Smoke on the Water at The Roundhouse

Beacon
One of the most beloved hotels in the area is certainly The Roundhouse, famed for its views overlooking a waterfall and creek. When COVID-19 threw a wrench in the hotel’s robust wedding business, management smartly pivoted to opening up their outdoor space for a weekly pop-up restaurant. Smoke on the Water is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, serving up barbecue classics like St. Louis-style ribs, smoked brisket, and grilled sausages. And how serious is chef Zach Crosby and his team? They even shipped a smoker all the way from Kansas.

The Tavern at Diamond Mills

Saugerties
Located in the old Martin Cantine Paper Mill and perched above roaring Esopus Falls, The Tavern claims one of the most dramatic views in all of the Hudson Valley. Located inside the Diamond Mills hotel, the restaurant is currently open for outdoor dining, serving a classic American menu of starters like crab cakes with a mango emulsion, and entrees like a cast-iron blackened ribeye. Don’t miss the decadent brunch, which has creative takes on sweets, such as the strawberry and banana bruschetta served with whipped honey ricotta.

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Juliet Izon is a Thrillist contributor.