On a recent February weekend afternoon, I found myself seated in the equivalent of a snow bank, devouring ribs. For the past year or so, I have dined out with infrequency—and only outside. My kids, 2 and 4, are difficult to wrangle, and indoor dining has not felt like a good choice for my particular brood. I have eaten takeout and, mostly, a truly boring volume of my own cooking. But February made me shiver, with every meal to my family I’d deliver. I was bored, and one snow-covered day we took to the great outdoors.
The good news is that, in Sagaponack, my kids could toss snowballs while my husband and I tucked into superlative barbecue that neither of us had to cook. Fresh off the sled slopes, we were dressed in our waterproof vest, and so even the chill didn’t bother us. At Townline, all you have to do is place an order inside, collect your buzzer, and wait wherever you like (that can be inside, near the fire, or, if you’re bundled, like we were, outside, at one of the picnic tables). On a sunny-albeit-crisp Saturday, we took our buzzer and drinks outside.
Soon, we were treated to fatty brisket, juicy chicken wings, and expertly fall-off-the-bone executed ribs. Eating outdoors in New York during the coldest months of the year may seem challenging on its face, but for us it was reminiscent of ski trips: Water-wicking clothing, thick piles of snow beneath our feet, and the corporeal joy of dining in the winter white. Ribs in the snow, I have to admit, is a step up from the fried dough they used to serve at my local ski spot.
Of course, the heart of spring is nearly upon us, which means that you can enjoy Townline’s streamlined menu (pulled pork, burgers, wings, St. Louis-style ribs, salad, brisket, pulled chicken, smoked chicken, Buffalo fries, Bavarian pretzels, popcorn, and even banana pudding) in soon-to-be-warmer climes. Imagine a view of Sagaponack’s legendary potato fields, rib-sticking ribs in hand. Imagine watching the seasons arrive—slowly, but with vigor—from the vantage point of a picnic table. The smell of smoke permeates the outdoor area, and you’ll be reminded, as we were, of how much there is to look forward to.
Margarita, beer, or sparkling rosé in hand, you may just find that a seat outside cures all that ails you.