Grendel’s upstairs neighbor Parsnip (91 Winthrop St., 617-714-3206) expands onto the sidewalk in warm weather, serving an appropriately seasonal menu (such as charred corn risotto and whole-lobster lobster rolls). So does the Border Café (32 Church St., 617-864-6100), where the Tex-Mex and Cajun specialities — not to mention the margaritas — are always a draw.
Saloniki’s (24 Dunster St., 617-945-5877) Greek specialties travel to the curb of the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Center, as does its exclusively Greek wine list, while the Longfellow Bar at Alden and Harlow (40 Brattle St. #3, 617-864-0001) has chef Michael Scelfo’s imaginative take on cocktails and snacks street-side. Think crab Rangoon nachos, and drinks like the Modern Woman, a “jostled” mix of tequila, fermented Muscat grape, and agave.
Sidewalk service also brings the huge variety of celebrity-themed burgers from Mr. Bartley’s (1246 Mass. Ave., 617-354-6559) outdoors. A Tom Brady (cheddar, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, and red onion), anyone? This Harvard Square institution (founded 1960) doesn’t serve alcohol, but, as befitting its place in local history, it has raspberry lime rickies and frappes (milkshakes, to you newcomers).
As the square’s oldest café, Café Pamplona (12 Bow St., 617-492-0392) represents another area tradition: the coffeehouse. Choose from more than a dozen drinks to enjoy on the patio — and, perhaps, a media noche (like a mini-Cuban) or a flan to go with.
Walk on by
For those who don’t mind serving themselves, warm weather brings out tables in front of Cardullo’s that are big enough for their overstuffed sandwiches, and at the Smith Center the hungry can sit outdoors to enjoy a variety of takeout options from Pavement Coffee, Bon Me’s Asian specialties, Oggi’s pizza and sandwiches, Blackbird Doughnuts, Swissbäkers, and the veggie-oriented Whole Heart Provisions.
Sidewalk tables also await outside Tom’s Bao Bao, Shake Shack, and B. Good on Winthrop Street (near Winthrop Park), while patrons of J.P. Licks, El Jefe Taqueria, Subway, and Chutney’s can find seating along Mount Auburn Street. There are even tables in a walled-in brick space outside the Eliot Street Café, aka Dunkin Donuts. This is New England, after all.
Many of the above vendors accept Crimson Cash. See the full list.