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Side Dish: Out to Eat

by Erica Bauwens

Summer is in full swing, and while the greenery blooms outside and the warm weather returns we are looking for any and every chance to get out and enjoy the season. And one of the best escapes? The outdoor options offered at bars, restaurants and eateries all over our area. From fully loaded decks to elegant dockside seating, there are lots of ways to enjoy the great outdoors.

Here, we've highlighted our five current favorite al fresco dining options, our top picks when looking to get out and enjoy beautiful South Jersey.

1. RiverWinds Restaurant
Tucked behind the winding greens of Ron Jaworski's Riverwinds Golf and Tennis Club, the restaurant’s back porch sits directly on the bank of the Delaware River, with a stunning view of Philadelphia in the distance. It’s quiet and intimate, and the sparkling lights of the incoming and outgoing planes on the water help set the scene for any romantic rendezvous. 1075 Riverwinds Dr., West Deptford, (856) 579-7900,

2. Bahama Breeze
This Cherry Hill Mall eatery's front deck gives diners a breath of fresh air, while the covered awning helps preserve some privacy from the mall crowds. On a normal weekend live music, accompanied by a Caribbean bar menu, set the tropical stage, and the fire pit and installed heating units hanging overhead mean you can enjoy your porch party even when the summer wind picks up in the evening. 2000 Route 38, Cherry Hill, (856) 317-8317,

3. Casona
Casona’s outdoor dining area is built into the wraparound porch of the Collingswood’s popular Cuban-inspired eatery, with small tables that add to the inviting ambience of the borough. Guests face Haddon Avenue, the busting town center that draws locals out through all seasons. You can’t help but feel right at home while watching the street come to life as the sun goes down. 563 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, (856) 854-5555,

4. The ChopHouse (pictured)
Diners loved the ChopHouse’s lake view so much that the management expanded, adding a back deck to please eager eaters. The new addition features and eclectic lounge area with a roaring stone fire pit, and a covered eating area where guests can order the full drink and dinner menu. 4 Lakeview Drive, Gibbsboro, (856) 566-7300,

5. Brio
The elegant Tuscan setting inside this restaurant fittingly translates to the long line of outdoor terrace alongside the building. White linen curtains draped from the ceilings are an ethereal touch and helps the space keep cool on hotter days. It’s an elegant escape from the high-traffic area, and a good way to clear your head after a full day of Promenade shopping. 500 Route 73, Marlton, (856) 983-0277,

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 4 (July, 2013).
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