I work, live, and play in three different Worcester neighborhoods, each one with its own alfresco options to explore. As soon as the weather turns, I love taking leisurely lunches outside. Here are a few of my favorites to help usher in the summer months:
WORK: GREENDALE CORRIDOR
I would currently classify myself as very pregnant. Nevertheless, my present state does not preclude me from socializing with friends and colleagues. (Although, it does make me more exacting when it comes to selecting a local brewery to patronize.) Greater Good’s addition of non-alcoholic beer to their repertoire has propelled them to the top of my list. I’ll be honest, the Millbrook Street haunt used to intimidate me on account of their catering exclusively to the imperial style which ranges from 8% to 14% ABV. The introduction of sessionable brews along with a staunch pro-dog policy has warmed me to Greater Good over the last couple years. There’s nothing like the real thing, but non-alcoholic “nana” is a fine alternative—a juicy patio beverage paired with pretzel bites, perfect on sunny afternoons after work.
LIVE: WEST SIDE
Some little girls dream of living in a Parisian palace or a Manhattan penthouse. Growing up, I always fantasized about living in one of the historic homes on Worcester’s west side. My dream finally became a reality just before the pandemic when my husband and I purchased our first house. West Side Steak & BBQ is a stroll-worthy destination in our new neighborhood, known for its pulled pork sandwiches, St. Louis spare ribs, and roasted chicken. Don’t worry about the mess; outdoor tables abound along with plenty of fascinating people watching will keep you entertained.
PLAY: CANAL DISTRICT
I spend a lot of time in the Canal District wandering around the Worcester Public Market, shopping at The Haberdash, and attending WooSox games. Lately, my favorite spot to grab a quick bite is the Ghanaian-inspired food stall, Ākra Eatery & Juice Bar. Ākra Eatery is the brainchild of Holy Name grad, Emmanuel Larbi, who also owns Accra Girls on Grafton Street. Originally from Ghana’s capital city of Accra, Mr. Larbi and his family moved to Worcester in 2003. “By spelling Ākra Eatery with a ‘k’ we are trying to break the mold,” he told me recently. “We put everyone on common ground by creating a fusion between West African food and a Western world approach.” I highly recommend the Jollof rice bowls which are customizable, delicious, and travel well. The Worcester Public Market has plenty of picnic tables outside so you can enjoy your fresh eats with a side of fresh air.
Do you have a favorite spot for outdoor dining in your Worcester neighborhood? Find me on instagram at @sarah_connell and let me know where I should go next.
Sarah Connell Sanders is a correspondent for the Worcester Chamber.
This story was originally published in the May 2022 edition of Chamber Exchange: The Newspaper, a quarterly publication of the Chamber. All newspaper editions are archived here.