As summertime in Binghamton comes to a close, it’s important to make the most of it. Go to the beach at Nathaniel Cole Park, hike in the Nature Preserve, don’t wear 10 layers of clothing. But after all that, what better way to end the day than by sitting outside and grabbing a bite to eat? Binghamton has a thriving restaurant scene and, while it’s still warm, there are plenty of places to sit down outside, soak in some natural light and enjoy Binghamton’s best bites al fresco.
If you’re looking to get your meal with a side of fresh air, start with Zona & Co. Grille. Zona has quesadillas and tacos the size of a small toddler, meaning you’ll have plenty to take home for some late-night snacking. Outdoor dining isn’t complete without a good drink, and Zona offers frozen margaritas, the staple beverage of summer, as well as some good local brews. The restaurant’s patio is spacious, and has a great view of the parade of people going to State Street on a weekend night. Try to sit far way from the live band, though — you can lose your hearing if you sit too close.
Dillinger’s and Uncle Tony’s also have options for outdoor dining. They share a quaint brick courtyard, so you can chow down without the busyness of sidewalk seating. And though it’s definitely bar food, you can grab a decent burger and fries to prepare for later in the night when all your other friends will regret not eating so they could get “happier faster.” Citrea offers outdoor seating along the Chenango River Walk for dinner and brunch if you’re looking for a good view. Try the Buongiorno pizza: bacon, sausage, provolone, garlic, green onions and eggs. Enough said.
Of the Downtown establishments, The Colonial is a favorite, notable for the overall experience that it provides. Not only does their outdoor seating place you in the center of Downtown Binghamton, this place has a grilled cheese flight — a sampler platter of different kinds of gourmet grilled cheeses with tomato soup — as well as truffle butter mac & cheese. Their jalapeño margaritas and huge beer selection don’t hurt either. The seating on Court Street is great for both the midday sunshine and during prime bar hours — the best time to watch people stumble to and from State Street. And on Wednesdays, they have half-off bottles of wine, which is a good midweek alternative to trivia at Tom & Marty’s.
If you’re willing to venture a little farther away from Court and Washington, Cafe West 46 offers a little outdoor seating area and some really good sandwiches, though you won’t be looking at much. Alternately, Cyber Cafe West on Main Street — which offers a huge variety of sandwiches, wraps and beer, along with live shows at night — has a funky outdoor deck that’s open all day.
These amenities are nice, but as Robert Frost once said, “Nothing gold can stay.” Get to them before they close for winter and you’re ordering Taj for delivery.