Memorial weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, when people start to do more outdoor dining. However as right now, New Jersey restaurants are still only limited to pickup and delivery, although our governor said that outdoor dining at restaurants could reopen within weeks. I posted a survey in a few Facebook community groups asking people about their favorite patio dining restaurants nearby. Several restaurants received very high votes. I was able to connect with two of them and planned a social distanced on-site visit.
Zinna's Bistro opened its doors in Cranbury, N.J. in 2010. Earlier this year they moved to their current location at 10 Cedarbrook Drive, Cranbury, N.J.
This Italian-American restaurant has a beautiful lakeside view and is "one of the hidden gems that make up the treasured Cranbury community."
Day view vs. ight view of the patio
At Zinna’s, they believe good food is simple food made with the freshest, highest quality ingredients.
Zinna's remains open for pickup and delivery during the quarantine, and keeps a number of team members working during this difficult time. While focusing on delivery and pick up, they've made a significant number of improvements to the decor of the restaurant, including their famous wine vine and cork art. Each cork has signatures from their guests. Some of the wall decor designs use the boxes of the high end and fancy wines the restaurant gets. I was able to take some behind-the-scene photos of their in-progress work.
In-progress wine vine design
Cork art design and wine box wall decor
Chris Zinna, the owner of Zinna's Bistro, is the creator behind the wine vine and cork art ideas. In addition to their spacious dining room and beautiful outdoor patio, Zinna's also has three food trucks to meet any catering need.
Chris took a picture of me standing in front of one of their food trucks
Zinna's also started some new programs, including their Streaming Supper Club. With this new offering, you can purchase all the ingredients for a home cooked meal, watch Chef Chris prepare the meal online, and then cook it in the comfort of your own home. Visit their website or give them a call at (609) 860-9600 for more details.
Albivi Brick Oven
Albivi Brick Oven, a fine dining Italian restaurant located at 866 Perrineville Rd, Millstone Township, N.J., has been under Ben Ukaj's ownership for five years.
The restaurant is ordering flowers and arranging landscaping service, working hard on setting up their outdoor patio areas and hoping the state will reopen outdoor dining in the upcoming weeks.
In-progress work vs. picture of patio seating from previous years
Albivi also has a front patio. Here is a picture showing current in-progress look vs. a picture from previous years
"People love our cozy outdoor seating area. Frank Sinatra songs are always playing. They are just perfect for the atmosphere," said Ben.
Prior to the pandemic, 90 percent of Albivi's business relied on dine-in. During the quarantine, the restaurant continues offering takeout and delivery.
Owner Ben with pizza boxes and a behind-the-scene current look of inside the restaurant
Albivi serves mixed styles of northern and southern Italian cuisine. Eighty percent of their menu items are homemade. They are proud of their quality. During my visit, Ben had the kitchen make me a Polloremo to take home: grilled chicken with roasted peppers, baby arugula, and homemade fresh mozzarella with their signature balsamic vinaigrette on brick oven focaccia bread.
Ben would like to take this opportunity to express their gratitude to the community.
'During this difficult time, many customers continue to show their support for our business. They buy gift cards, book parties for future dates but give us the deposit for now. Many also donate food to first responders and hospitals. We have great staff, great customers. We work with great people! It is a great community! Thank you!
A social distanced selfie with Albivi's owner Ben
Ben invites you to stay connected with them on their Facebook. Give them a call at (732) 446-8211 if you have any questions.
Other patio dining restaurants received high votes by locals include:
Title image is from Pixabay. Zinna's patio night view picture is provided by their social media manager Dan. Pictures of Zinna's food are taken from their website gallery. Picture of me standing in front of Zinna's food truck is taken by their owner Chris. Pictures of Albivi's outdoor seating areas from previous years are taking from their listing sites. Video of Albivi's outdoor seating area from previous years provided by owner Ben. The rest of the pictures in this article are taken by me (the author) during my social distanced on-site visits.