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Outdoor Dining in Downtown E-City

Posted on 05/19/2021 by Breanna Brower

In the last year, many restaurants in Downtown Elizabeth City have embraced the opportunity for outdoor dining. Whether you’re visiting in the warmer months and just enjoy a nice breeze or the temperature is dropping and you want to enjoy the brisk, fall air (overhead heater optional), Elizabeth City’s dining scene has you covered. Here is a list of places in E-City offering delicious food and open-air outdoor seating.

Muddy Waters Coffeehouse

A cup of coffee and some tasty coffeecake to get your morning started are waiting for you at Muddy Waters! Their tried-and-true menu of smoothies, espresso drinks and beer and wine are better when you can enjoy them at one of their outdoor tables. Their downtown location makes it easy to kick off a busy day of exploring and shopping with a fresh cup of joe before venturing through our historic downtown on foot.

Ives Alley

It’s not a restaurant on its own, but this beautified alleyway on Poindexter St. is a cute little corner of downtown offering seating for folks within walking distance of a variety of tasty eateries. Ives Alley has a beautiful tree sculpture with individual leaves featuring local art, Edison lights, and hand-painted tables with cool fire hydrant bases tucked away in a cute spot just behind Arts of the Albemarle.

mother and children outdoor dining at ives alley in downtown elizabeth city, public art

Big Boss Burritos

Just across the street from Ives Alley is downtown Elizabeth City’s burrito hot spot, Big Boss Burritos. From their humble beginnings as a food truck Big Boss has really made a name for themselves in EC. Not only do they serve massive burritos, authentic churros, and the ever-popular OMG Fries, they’ve recently added a margarita bar! Just outside of the restaurant are a few sidewalk tables for guests to enjoy or you can head right across the street to the alley. Big Boss also hosts outdoor events for days like Cinco de Mayo that bring dining to the streets with picnic tables and tons of family fun.

girls and their dog dining and chatting with burrito shop owner and outdoor dining

Flour Girls Cafe & Bakery

Satisfy your sweet tooth and enjoy the warm weather while at the Flour Girls Cafe & Bakery. Sit back and enjoy the view down Main Street of all the comings and goings of our small downtown—made especially enjoyable when accompanied by Flour Girls’ delectable treats like cupcakes and cookies. If it isn’t your sweet tooth that needs attention, grab a sandwich or salad made fresh to enjoy at the bistro tables and just enjoy the fresh air!

Pailin’s Alley

Pailin’s Alley is one of downtown Elizabeth City’s most-popular destinations for a night out since the historic alley was renovated and restored just a few years ago. One cool thing about Pailin’s Alley is that you can take a seat and enjoy a meal from any restaurant, not just those within the alley. The community space is the perfect spot for visitors who are looking for a variety of options with the benefit of outdoor dining complete with outdoor heaters in cooler months. You can even grab a beer from Ghost Harbor, located right on the corner of Colonial Ave. and Pailin’s alley, to enjoy with your food!

group of friends enjoying ghost harbor beer in renovated pailins alley, Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Hoppin’ Johnz

Speaking of Pailin’s, we must include this downtown staple! If southern dishes like shrimp & grits or a smokehouse burger with fried tobacco onions makes your mouth water, you have to check out Hoppin’ Johnz. Their outdoor dining is located right on the Colonial Ave. entrance of the alleyway, making it the perfect location to watch a beautiful sunsetting sky and enjoy a nice cross-breeze in warmer months. When temperatures begin to drop the restaurant keeps the perfect atmosphere with overhead heaters and wind-blocking closures on the gate surrounding the dining area.

family eating dinner in enclosed outdoor dining area, downtown Elizabeth City, North Carolina

The Mills Downtown Bistro

Just around the corner from Pailin’s Alley is The Mills Bistro, a mother-son-run restaurant with a unique tapas menu and a full bar with seasonal cocktails. When the impacts of COVID caused restaurants to seriously reduce capacity, The Mills saw the opportunity to adapt and introduce bistro tables right on the sidewalk outside of the restaurant. You can now dine outside and get all the same great service as you would indoors but with the beauty of downtown Elizabeth City and a natural atmosphere.

couples dining at sidewalk bistro tables in downtown elizabeth city, north carolina

Paradiso Roma Ristorante

Italian fare featuring local produce, handmade pasta and locally sourced steaks and seafood can be found on the Causeway heading towards neighboring Camden County. Overlooking the water, Paradiso’s patio dining is the perfect spot for a romantic sunset dinner. Unique, scratch-made menu items include Chicken Marsala, NC Shrimp Scampi, Buried Treasure Pizza and cannoli.couple having a drink and dining outdoors with a waterfront view of the Pasquotank river

Groupers Waterfront

Groupers is a full-service restaurant and bar serving up everything from seafood to pasta and burgers with a waterfront view of the Pasquotank River. The patio offers several tables for small or larger groups to enjoy the scenic views with a tasty meal and a drink in hand. The outdoor tiki bar makes enjoying a nightcap easy! 

Waterfront Park, Coast Guard Park & Charles Creek Park

Okay, so our waterfront parks aren’t restaurants…but with a to-go plate from a local restaurant or even a picnic basket, outdoor dining is totally possible! All three of these parks are within walking distance of downtown and feature plenty of picnic tables and greenspace to enjoy a nice lunch on the green or dinner with a waterfront view. For a romantic evening, you can’t get more cozy a secluded table for two with a sunset view over the river and the sounds of birds in the distance.

family having a picnic on the green at Waterfront Park in Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Nature lovers rejoice, outdoor dining is here to stay in Elizabeth City! Our waterfront community is simply too beautiful to not enjoy the picturesque views every chance you get. Whether you’re in the mood for outdoor burgers, burritos or seafood, you can find it here in Our E-City.

Read more about things to do in Elizabeth City, North Carolina with our Insider's Guide Blog.

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