Meet-and-Eat Garden Spots for Year-Round Use

By Andrea Strong May 29, 2008, 10:59 AM EDT

The owners of Elizabeth kept Rialto's popular garden, adding new elements such as the retractable roof and cedar flooring.

Photo: Jeffrey Gurwin

Here are two new restaurant gardens that, no matter what the season, can work for a meeting or entertaining clients.

Elizabeth is the impressive new incarnation of Rialto in NoLIta that opened in late April. Nestled between indie designer boutiques, the restaurant has a dramatic interior with three distinct event rooms, each with wireless Internet. One of these is the enclosed (and heated) garden out back, which has a stone fountain, an outdoor bar, a retractable roof, and cedar flooring. This area of the restaurant seats 50 for dinner or holds as many as 65 for cocktails. And since Elizabeth is currently only open for dinner on weekdays, lunchtime events can take over the entire restaurant.

New to the restaurant scene last week, Hundred Acres takes the locavore trend to the extreme with a daily changing farm-to-table menu by chef Marc Meyer (owner and chef of Five Points and Cookshop) of seasonal dishes. The setting matches the cuisine, with oversize photos of an old Pennsylvania farmhouse hanging on the walls, white subway tiles lining the barroom, and lots of raw wood contributing to a country road-meets-vintage butcher shop vibe. The SoHo restaurant’s enclosed garden room has been renovated to feel like an airy greenhouse. It’s decorated with lush plants and fresh herbs, and a retractable roof has been installed to allow for alfresco dining in all sorts of weather. For private events, the room seats 30 people, and a custom-designed seasonal menu can be created for each party. While there’s no audiovisual equipment on the premises, there is wireless Internet.

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