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About Town: Lunch Al Fresco

Tired of the same old routine for lunch? Find yourself wandering the streets of Fort Lee looking for a refreshing mid-day change?

Perhaps you’re seeking a place where you can sit outside and enjoy the warm spring air. Well, look no further. We got it covered.

Brown Bag it. Now, now. We’re not talking about sitting at your desk with the window open. Whether you make your own lunch or get take-out, a brown bag lunch eaten outdoors can restore your soul. But where in this busy town can you find a quiet place that will restore your soul? Take your brown bag to Allison Park on Hudson Terrace just over the border of Fort Lee in Englewood Cliffs. Because there are no signs directing you to Allison Park you would only know it’s there if you live in Coytesville or Southern Englewood Cliffs, attended Saint Peter’s College in Englewood Cliffs (it sits on the northern end of the park), or if you were curious, had some time on your hands and decided to see where the road under the underpass led.

As soon as you drive through the regal green wrought iron gates that flank Allison Park you know you’re entering a privileged place. The park was literally willed to the people for their enjoyment by William O. Allison, the first mayor of Englewood Cliffs, who owned and lived on the land in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Allison Park was designed to have plants in bloom during all seasons, so no matter what time of year you visit, there will always be bursts of color. However, there is no more spectacular time to visit than now—early spring—when so many flowers and trees are coming into full bloom.

Throughout the garden are a series of winding paths that have benches spaced far enough apart to make you feel as if you’re all alone in your landscaped garden. Also, the eastern part of the park is lined with a beautiful green wrought iron fence behind which you’ll find the most scenic unobstructed view of the New York Skyline north of the George Washington Bridge.

Find an empty bench, and enjoy your lunch while you’re inhaling the blooming flora and the rich view. And for those of you who like to walk after lunch, you can burn that lunch off by walking the winding hilly paths.

Allison Park is located off Hudson Terrace just over the border in Englewood Cliffs.

AL FRESCO ON MAIN STREET: If the idea of eating a brown bag lunch in a park in the middle of nowhere gives you a rash, then we have some places where you can eat outside without abandoning civilization.  All of them are located on Main St. and offer outside dining.

IN NAPOLI: In Napoli not only has a terrific lunch menu with very reasonable prices, but this time of year it’s the perfect place to take your friends and eat outside on their open porch at one of the umbrella tables. Whether it’s a salad, pizza, fish, pasta or a burger, In Napoli offers an extensive lunch menu that will satisfy every palate.

In Napoli is located at 116 Main St. 201-947-2500.

J.D.’S STEAK PIT: There is a lovely outdoor seating area in the back of the restaurant. J.D.’s does not have standing lunch specials, however, they do offer them from time to time. The lunch menu doesn’t really differ from the dinner menu, so it can be pricey. Lunch here is better suited for business lunches where the tab is covered. 

J.D.’s Steak Pit is located at 124 Main St. 201-461-0444.

: A very casual place with ample outdoor seating. For a sandwich or a salad, Café La Maison offers an extensive menu with prices that are extremely reasonable. Also, the portions are huge, so you’ll probably have leftovers for dinner. A great place to go with your co-workers, meet your girlfriends, or take the kids. Their chicken fingers and French fries platter is not much more expensive than fast food, and because it’s made from real chicken and real potatoes, it’s so much healthier. Oh, and the kids absolutely love it!

Café La Maison is located at 140 Main St. 201-947-6699.

ernie May 04, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Dont forget Santorini 2020 central ave ( Just off main st.). They have a huge patio. Chuck Metaxas will be perfoming there this Friday. Chuck is a FLHS grad 1984.
Ann Piccirillo May 04, 2011 at 08:45 PM
Thanks Ernie! Certaintly did not mean to overlook Santorini's -- the place that makes the absolute BEST Mojitos in town!!!!

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