19 Places to Dine Al Fresco in Downtown York

 The Taste Test Cantina is a cool hidden oasis in Downtown York. Photo courtesy of Taste Test.

The Taste Test Cantina is a cool hidden oasis in Downtown York. Photo courtesy of Taste Test.

Downtown York’s food scene is booming, and there is no better way to enjoy it than under the sun.

Whether you want to enjoy a bite to eat in a hidden cantina, find a table on historic Continental Square and people watch or relax as you listen to live music over lunch from the market, there are plenty of places to dine al fresco in Downtown York.

Check out this list, then visit on of the stops for yourself!

Taste Test’s Courtyard Cantina

One of Downtown York’s coolest hidden spaces, the Courtyard Cantina at Taste Test in the Royal Square District offers a colorful and cozy space to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat. With a beautiful mural as a backdrop and a leafy tree providing shade, it is the perfect spot to gather with friends over margaritas or beers. In addition, guests may enjoy food from either of the two rotating, pop-up restaurants operating at Taste Test, which doubles as an incubator for creative culinary artists. Nacho Cabra, a nacho brewpub, and Paco’s Tacos are currently operating at Taste Test. Sidewalk seating is also available.

Esaan Thai Restaurant

How about this for a unique pairing: delicious fresh Thai food followed by decadent Italian gelato. You’ll find both at Esaan Thai in the heart of Downtown York. Thailand native Jai runs the kitchen, where everything from pineapple curry to a peanut noodle stir fry to fresh spring rolls are made to order. Sam is the master gelato maker, creating traditional flavors such as chocolate, as well as Thai-inspired Coconut and Pandan – a tropical herb. You can enjoy both your dinner and your dessert al fresco on Beaver Street, a great spot for people watching and shopping.

White Rose Bar & Grill

One of Downtown York’s favorite restaurants, this is the spot to gather on the first warm spring day of the year. White Rose offers open-air dining when weather permits, letting guests enjoy a warm breeze with lunch.  It’s also in one of the city’s best shopping spots, where boutique shops offer everything from all-natural handmade shop to the trendiest fashion.

Iron Horse York

Situated on historic Continental Square, Iron Horse offers the perfect place to view bustling Downtown York while enjoying a great meal on a warm day. The menu offers the unexpected – like the popular grilled octopus starter – as well as tasty burgers, refreshing salads, brick-oven pizza and entrees like a tuna wasabi tempura with slaw and sesame miso vinaigrette. Inside, the restaurant pays homage to York’s industrial past.

Mudhook Brewing Company

Connected to Central Market, Mudhook Brewing Company offers up excellent craft beer (the Wild River Weizen is a great spring and summer choice) and plenty of grub to go along with it. Sit outside as you dig into the Crankbait Crab Dip, Muddy Hog Wings, a wide selection of burgers and more. Plus, every summer Mudhook transforms its patio and parking lot into a city beach with 12 tons of sand.

Holy Hound Taproom

On the ground floor of the former National House Hotel – which hosted Charles Dickens and President Martin Van Buren during its heyday – Holy Hound Taproom features a rotating menu of 30 craft beers on tap, plus a menu of fresh, made-to-order eats that pair perfectly with a hoppy IPA or refreshing summer wheat. Eclectic burgers such as the Forest Floor – porcini-crusted venison with mushrooms, Swiss cheese and aioli on a brioche bun – will surprise and delight you. Plus, the Holy Hound’s outdoor seating area will give you a great view of the hustle and bustle of Beaver Street.

Roosevelt Tavern

A former cigar store that served as a front for a speakeasy during the days of Prohibition, The Roosevelt Tavern sits on the outskirts of Downtown York. These days, with its intimate patio, it’s a great place to enjoy a summer evening and farm-to-table inspired fare, including a dry-aged prime steak,  pan-roasted chicken and vegetable risotto.

Collusion Tap Works

With 24 taps pouring beer brewed on-site, you’re sure to find a summer beer you love at Collusion Tap Works in the Downtown York’s Royal Square District. Grab a spot on the outdoor patio, with picnic tables and biergarten-style seating, then pair your brew with fare including a pretzel with beer cheese, spicy garlic roasted cauliflower or a short rib panini. Collusion also offers cornhole boards for a little friendly competition.

Central Market

Central Market doesn’t technically have outdoor seating, but it is next to Cherry Lane Park. Tucked between the beautiful buildings of Downtown York, the park is one of the best places to enjoy lunch on a sunny summer day. Grab a bite to eat from Market – open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – and then find a spot in Cherry Lane to nosh. Better yet, come during one of the Box Lunch Revue shows and enjoy live music with your food.

Roost Uncommon Kitchen

Located on Market Street, Roost Uncommon Kitchen offers picnic table seating where you can dig into breakfast sandwiches stuffed with everything from bacon to pulled pork all day long. Plus, enjoy smoked brisket, chicken and other barbecue staples.

Tutoni’s

During the warmer months, you’ll find a few tables outside Tutoni’s on North George Street. But you can also enjoy a great Tutoni’s dining experience in Cherry Lane Park on May 17 for Tutoni’s – Al Fresco. This beautiful night will feature live music by Rue de la Pompe, small bites and drinks. The food will follow Tutoni's catering style called “Aperitivo,” the Italian tradition of enjoying drinks and small bites. Think seafood, prosciutto, and other classic favorites. 

The Handsome Cab

Sophisticated and stylish, The Handsome Cab offers an extensive wine menu and shareable plates including Carpaccio of Beef, Saku Tuna Tartare and Downtown Dates stuffed with bleu cheese and wrapped in succulent turkey bacon. In the summertime, a few spots can be found on the sidewalk.

Revival Social Club

One of George Street’s excellent dining options, Revival Social Club serves up globally inspired fare and cool cocktails. The menu changes seasonally, with Peking Duck Nachos, a Beet Poke Bowl and Bourbon Brined Pork Chop among the current highlights. Like other nearby spots, outdoor seating is limited, so come early to claim a spot.

Joy’s Café

Get up early to enjoy breakfast under the morning sun at Joy’s Café, where you can dig into eggs scrambled with your choice of meat and tucked between a mouth-watering grilled cheese sandwich. If you like sleeping in, don’t worry: Joy’s serves breakfast all day. Lunch options include soup, salads and sandwiches.

Granfalloons Tavern

You’ll enjoy summer evenings on the deck at Granfalloons Tavern, just a short two-block walk from Downtown York’s Continental Square. Located in a beautiful two-story building, Granfalloons is a great place to gather with friends, share a crispy crust pizza and shoot a game of pool. You’ll also find nachos, burgers and more on the menu.

Waterway Bar & Grill

Get the friends together for a night along the water. With views of the Codorus Creek, Waterway Bar & Grill is a popular late-night hangout spot. Enjoy burgers, craft beer and some friendly competition. The restaurant offers darts, pool and video games. You’ll also be right next to Foundry Park, where Rosie the Cat makes for a great introduction into Downtown York’s public art.

Isaac’s on the Fly

With quick service and 16 signature sandwiches all named after birds, Isaac’s on the Fly lives up to its moniker. You’ll find tables outside Isaac’s during the warmer months, when the leafy trees on Market Street will provide some relaxing shade as you enjoy lunch.

LettUsKnow

On warm summer days, crunch into a delicious salad or wrap from LettUsKnow, where you can build your own lunch. Choose from dozens of toppings like artichoke, cucumbers, mushrooms and roasted red peppers as you create your favorite lunch. When the sun is shining, you’re likely to find a couple tables outside.

Stage Deli on George

The Stage Deli is a popular lunch spot thanks to its proximity to the York County Courthouse, so get there early for lunch if you want the coveted seats outside under the umbrella.  Outside or inside, you’ll enjoy the classic deli sandwiches, flatbreads, paninis and more.

Did we miss a spot? Let us know and we'll add to the list!