It's obvious to most locals that downtown's restaurant resurgence is in the fast lane. Only three decades ago, weekdays at 5pm meant a massive exodus to the safety of suburbia. Downtown storefronts were chained, parking garages emptied, graffiti artists salivated. A mere smattering of white table-clothed restaurants served the theater-going crowd.
The current American dream, even for many families with children, is to live in the city center. Loft renovation projects and apartment construction progress at a furious pace. Futuristic, industrial-driven restaurants, serving fried pig-snouts and roasted marrow on redwood tables amid rusted metal-corrugated walls are born almost daily.
White table-cloths have given way to aluminum diamond-plate. Crystal sconces replaced by exposed pipes. Bow-tied, pencil-thin moustached maitre d’s named Enzo have been exchanged for eyelid-pierced, soul-patched waiters named Elijah or Chloe.
Residents and restaurateurs, particularly in eastern districts have accepted, or perhaps embraced a SoHo-esque tolerance for grunge and graffiti. Sustainable is the crusade du jour, Farm-to-fork is the new 'fresh catch (words) of the day.'
With so many dining choices, and summer in full blaze, let's explore one restaurant category - downtown outdoor dining. View a few options in the photo list above.