Throw in a succulent dish and what youve got is what many Romans are doing these days eating out literally.
Outdoor dining is popular for most of the year, especially when the weather is as mild as autumn in Georgia. Several Rome eateries are catching up with the rest of the country and offering customers the opportunity to dine outdoors.
People like eating outside, said Ed Baker, manager at Harvest Moon Café. The weathers cool right now, and you can see the cars pass and people walking down the street. Sidewalk cafés are really popular.
In addition to its interior seating, Harvest Moon offers outdoor seating for 40 people on its front patio just off Broad Street, as well as seating for 32 on its rear deck.
Its weather driven, he said. In the summer youll find a lot of people eating inside where theres air conditioning. But as soon as the weather cools down people start asking to be seated outside. Occasionally on Saturday well bring out the big screen TV and show a Georgia game if its on.
At midday on Thursday, Adrian Berry sat outside 3rd Avenue Coffee Shop and Deli enjoying a soda.
This is such a great location to sit outside, he said. Its nice and quiet, just off Broad Street and you can really just chill out here. Its great.
Jamie Crocker, manager at Panera Bread in Riverbend Center, said the restaurant offers outdoor seating with umbrellas and awnings to protect customers from the elements.
Here at Panera people usually eat inside, she said. But in the spring well get a lot of people who want to sit outside and enjoy their meals. Its a great location and with good weather, who wouldnt want to be out in the sunshine.
On Friday, Stephanie Hostetler and James Cargill were dining outside at Panera.
The weathers nice and cool and the food is great, Cargill said.
Yeah, agreed Hostetler. The soup here is great, so even when the weather gets a little cooler the soup warms you up. And you can see all the people going past. Its just a nice atmosphere.
Rome is catching up to several neighboring towns and cities such as Athens, Atlanta and Chattanooga, which all have blossoming outdoor dining scenes including cafés, bistros and outdoor restaurants and bars.
Schroeders New Deli, The Prickly Pear, The Waterfront Grill and Bar, and Moes Southwest Grill are just some of the other establishments within Romes city limits that offer outdoor areas.
What makes outdoor dining in Rome a wonderful experience is that first of all, we have great restaurants, said Downtown Development Authority Director Ann Arnold. The food is incredible and people love to people watch. They can enjoy the ambiance of being outside and watching the trees and architecture and feeling the evening air.
Arnold said the fact that many of Romes outdoor dining locales are located in the downtown area only adds to the its charm.
It sets the downtown area apart, she said. But Id encourage other businesses to try outdoor dining facilities. It contributes to the overall image of Rome. As people drive past and see diners enjoying the outdoors they see Rome as a vibrant, exciting place.