We have all noticed the “parklets” popping up in front of restaurants throughout the county. Decorative wood lattice, elaborate custom-made planter boxes and strings of twinkly lights now bedeck many a Marin eatery that deftly pivoted to meet these changing Covid times. Here is a roundup of some favorites. Of course there are others—and many that are already known for their comfortable outdoor digs; however, most of these favorites were not previously known for their al fresco option.
This beloved San Anselmo institution has created a haven of greenery and calm that wraps around the north side of the restaurant’s parking lot and on either side of the entrance to the restaurant. The always-reliable upscale Mediterranean cuisine can now be enjoyed beneath twinkling lights amidst plenty of foliage—even space heaters are now keeping diners comfortable and warm while they enjoy fattoush salads and tasty entrees.
120 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Anselmo. 415.457.7700, insalatas.com
Open for barely two months, PizzaHacker (the flagship is in SF) brings a spacious beer garden and 14-inch blistered Neapolitan pies to Tam Junction. Arguably one of Marin’s hippest locales, this area manages to hold onto its low-key, hipster local vibe in spite of the fact that it draws most of its business from out-of-county weekend revelers. Finding the entrance is a bit tricky—and it’s best to enter through the back garden. A selection of 12 pizzas—with witty names such as Rocketman, Get a Room and Yo Vinny—are topped with fresh, inventive ingredients. There are also plenty of beer options to enjoy, with the pizzas, on well-spaced picnic tables. A fire pit, bike rack and string lights complete the al fresco décor. Even the neighboring business has created a large eating area that customers can enjoy. It’s important to remember that this is a cashless-only business. Yes, that is right: NO CASH ACCEPTED.
226 Shoreline Hwy, Mill Valley. 415.662.3212 Tj.thepizzahacker.com (note: they ask that you order online).
Jerry’s Delicatessen & BBQ
On Sept. 1, Jerry’s Delicatessen opened up in a space that was previously home to Perry’s Deli in Novato. With a massive menu, very friendly staff and reasonable prices, this refreshing new spot will likely have something for everyone. While barbecue is the focus here—brisket sandwich, smoked tri-tip, ribs and BBQ combo plates are popular—salads and breakfast items including chicken and waffles are also on the menu. Wine barrels, orange tables and grey fabric umbrellas fill the adjoining one-time parking lot, and a live-music stage has been erected. Servers wear black t-shirts that include the words “Smoke, Eat, Repeat” on their backs. It’s safe to say this lively new spot is all about tasty barbecue and live music, and perhaps the deli shares the namesake of a well-known musician—Jerry Garcia—whose photo graces an indoor wall.
7380 Redwood Blvd, Novato. 415.895.5592, jerrysdelibbq.com.
Truth be told, the outdoor porch connected to Farley Bar has always been the preferred dining option over the indoor bar and the formal dining room Murray Circle at Cavallo Point. Despite the oft-chilly Sausalito sea air (blankets are provided), this special spot rates as an all-time Marin favorite. Well-made burgers and fresh California fare—including oysters, of course—are always on this reliable American menu.
Cavallo Point Lodge 601 Murray Circle, Sausalito. 415.339.4751 cavallopoint.com.
Longway is the veritable “renaissance woman” of San Anselmo’s local business scene. Formerly known as neve & hawk, the recently re-branded Longway is a fashion brand, a meticulously-curated retail experience, cafe, iced-coffee delivery service and now an outdoor dining experience. Longway offers their signature coffee drinks as well as poke bowls, salads and other sundries to enjoy on their beautifully crafted downtown parklet.
641 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo. 415.306.7657, neveandhawk.com.