Fresh steamed lobster, eaten outside on the water. That's summertime to me. It pains me that my favorite restaurant has said goodbye to summer and won't reopen until Spring 2021.

From shrimp to bisque, clams to lobsters with drawn butter, there is nothing I love more than sitting down to crack open a shell and pull out some fresh meat to dip and eat. Best way to enjoy it, to me, is out on the deck of a fun restaurant, overlooking a marina surrounded by water and boats, and watching the sun set on a hot summer evening when the days are long and you don't have to worry about such items as jackets or close-toed shoes.

When The Boondocks Fishery opens in Red Bank (down by Marine Park) the week leading up to Memorial Day each year, it's a sure sign that summer is around the corner and we can hang out in flip flops and tank tops, knowing it won't get dark until around 9 pm.

Sigh.

Even take-out lobster (served with corn on the cob and fries) is awesome! Photo by Liz Jeressi

Then it all goes by too fast. I must have dined at Boondocks at least 5 times this summer with friends on some of the most beautiful weather evenings this summer brought. It was divine.

I love outdoor dining as it is, but getting a little 'normalcy' in a world full of Covid gave these evenings an air of escapism from the damned pandemic, making the experience even bettter than in years past.

Plus, Kelly Ryan (the owner) is almost always flitting around talking to customers who have become friends over the years and making everyone feel special and like part of the family.

Kelly McMurray Ryan, owner of Boondocks, photo by Moe Keane

This restaurant is just one example of the definition of summer to me...but it's a good one. And simply one of my favorite places.

So goodbye, Boondocks Fishery. Hello, Autumn and pumpkin spice. It's not the same, but it will have to do.

What summer restaurant do you miss when it closes for the season?