Pleasure gardens were another venue where eating outside took place. A form of these public gardens existed in Ancient Rome, and many were opened in England in the 18th and 19th century. They also appeared in major cities in the United States in the 18th century, and had various attractions, including food. Usually light snacks were eaten, especially ice cream. A similar, but smaller type of outdoor venue for eating, was the tea garden. Following the Civil War, beer gardens became popular. They were based off of German beer gardens, and flourished on the outskirts of town until the prohibition era.
Around the turn of the 20th century, the first outdoor cafes opened in the United States. They were modeled after Parisian cafes, which had been in existence since the 17th century. Some rooftop restaurants also opened in larger cities in the United States around the same time. Another important popular outdoor attraction around the turn of the 20th century that featured food was Coney Island. Charles Feltman is credited with inventing the hot dog there, and he built a restaurant with outside seating, taking inspiration from pleasure gardens and the beer gardens of his homeland. He eventually built an outdoor dining area that was lined with maple trees and staffed with singing waiters. By the 1920’s, the subway lined reached Coney Island, and Feltman’s business boomed. One of Feltman’s workers, Nathan Handwerker, opened Nathan’s Hot Dogs in 1916, and it still is in business at Coney Island today. And guess what? They have outside seating!
Celebrate the day by eating outside! Have a picnic or a barbecue with your family or friends! Go to a restaurant that has outdoor seating. Maybe you even live close to one of the best outdoor dining restaurants in the country.