June 20, 2021

danranrestaurant

All Things Delicious

The NYC Best Restaurants and Markets for Loading Up on Picnic Supplies

6 min read

The sun is out, the warm weather has hit, and picnicking season in NYC has officially arrived. In preparation for any number of weekend afternoon picnic hangs, which became a mainstay of the pandemic last year, below is a list of New York restaurants, bakeries, bars, and markets selling picnic supplies. From Central Park to Sunset Park and beyond, whether the occasion calls for a spread of stuffed rotis, a bright bottle of natural wine, or a fancy little charcuterie board, let this regularly-updated list be your guide all summer long.


Banh Mi Place: This humble Vietnamese restaurant is a must-know for those looking to nab a quick bite, and a passable taro bubble tea, on the way to Prospect Park. Order ahead of time to skip the lines, which are bound to form on a summer’s day, and stick to the classic banh mi. The version made with dark meat chicken comes in close second. 824 Washington Avenue, near Saint John’s Place, a short distance from Prospect Park

Ciao, Gloria: This Italian-American cafe in Prospect Heights has lots of light bites on deck including breakfast cookies, coffee cake, and sandwiches served on housemade focaccia. The whole spread is available for delivery through the restaurant’s website. 550 Vanderbilt Avenue, between Pacific and Dean streets, Prospect Heights, a short distance from Prospect Park

Court Street Grocers: Court Street Grocers’s venerable list of 30-some sandwiches makes for peak summer dining in a small group. Order a few sandwiches to split, and a couple housemade sodas if you’re stopping in, but bring your own knife because the sandwich counter won’t cut them in more than halves. Multiple locations

De Hot Pot: Few foods hold up after a short walk as well as the doubles and wrapped roti from De Hot Pot, one of Prospect Lefferts Gardens’s best sources for Trinidadian fare. Stuffed with stewed chickpeas, potatoes, and a choice of chicken, goat, beef, or shrimp, these roti will leave your belly fully, and maybe your picnic blanket stained. 1127 Washington Avenue, between Lefferts Avenue and Lincoln Road, a short distance from Prospect Park East

Di Palo’s Fine Foods: This century-old Italian store is best known for its mozzarella, but a selection of cured meats and imported cheeses is also available for takeout and delivery. 200 Grand Street, at Mott Street

Doaba Deli: For simple, homestyle Indian food that’s easy to eat on-the-go, head to this corner deli on the Upper West Side. Parathas — Indian flatbreads that are served at the deli with a variety of stuffings including potato, paneer, and cauliflower — are a solid bet for an outdoor picnic. Pair it with some of the fresh juices that are made at the deli to round out the meal. The deli is open for takeout from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and orders can be placed by calling 212-222-2636. 945 Columbus Avenue, between West 107th and West 106th streets, Upper West Side, a few blocks away from Central Park

Don Pepe Tortas Y Jugos: Located one block away from Sunset Park, this longstanding smoothies and tortas shop on Fifth Avenue is a must-stop for an easy, quick picnic spread. Good luck choosing a drink from the wall-sized menu of smoothie blends. 3908 Fifth Avenue, between 39th and 40th streets, Sunset Park

Eataly: The Flatiron location of the global Italian food hall for meats, cheeses, and fluffy focaccia is available for delivery through Caviar. Assemble a spread of cheeses and cured meats — like burrata with soppressata picante or ricotta and mixed salumi — or order one the restaurant’s thin-crust pizzas to be enjoyed outdoors. Takeout cocktails, including a Negroni and Manhattan, are also available. 200 Fifth Avenue, between West 23rd and West 24th streets, Flatiron, across from Madison Square Park

H Mart: For one of the most beloved snack aisles in the city, stop by a location of this New York City-based grocery chain. Hauls of $35 or more can be delivered to select zip codes in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Multiple locations

June Wine Bar: Cobble Hill natural wine bar June has upped its delivery game during the pandemic with more than 60 bottles of wine, alongside a handful of batched cocktails for parties of one to eight. Housemade sides like squash with burrata and slices of carrot-olive oil cake can be used to bulk up an order. 231 Court Street, between Baltic and Warren streets, Cobble Hill, near Carroll Park

La Fondita: Pork ribs are a staple of picnics and backyard barbecues across the country, and this Mexican restaurant on the border of Woodside and Maspeth has a wonderful version of the staple bathed in brick-red mole from Guerrero. Other picnic-friendly dishes include tacos placeros filled with cheese-stuffed poblano peppers, pozole served with tostadas, and the shoe-shaped masa vessels called huarches with a choice of fillings (pick dried beef cecina). 49-11 69th Street, between 49th and 50th avenues, Woodside

Murray’s Cheese: No hate to the excellent cheese aisle at Trader Joe’s, but for a wider selection that your potluck surely hasn’t tried, head to Murray’s. Everything needed for a picnic — soft and hard cheeses, cured meats, crackers, even salty side dishes — is on deck at this one-stop shop. 254 Bleecker Street, at Leroy Street, a short distance from Washington Square Park

Partybus Bakeshop: Cheese is plenty fine on its own, but after a year of you-know-what, why deprive yourself? Partybus Bakeshop has the perfect carby accompaniments for any picnic, including loaves of cheesy apple bread and hand-held scallion buns. 31 Essex Street, near Hester Street

Patel Brothers: While there’s no substitute for a trip through the high-lined aisles of Patel Brothers in-person, the grocer’s impressive selection of snacks is available for delivery through Mercato to select zip codes. Here, you can stock up on nuts, dried fruits, bags of snacks from Indian food brand Haldiram’s, and so much more. 37-27 74th Street, between 37th Avenue and 37th Road

Roti Roll Bombay Frankie: Columbia University-adjacent staple Roti Roll has been serving up frankies — wraps similar to kathi rolls — for years now, and these neatly-packed meat and vegetable-stuffed breads are easy to carry for a picnic nearby. Aside from the chicken and lamb options, this tiny spot has a large selection of vegetarian fillings including okra, chickpeas, mushroom, and paneer. Order takeout by calling the restaurant at 212-666-1500 and local delivery is available on all major third-party apps. 994 Amsterdam Avenue, near West 109th Street, Upper West Side, a short distance from Central Park

Sahadi’s: Brooklyn favorite grocery store Sahadi’s is delivering its popular dips, spreads, and breads through Mercato. Assemble a DIY dinner of baba ganoush, hummus, and filo pies or opt for one of the grocery store’s handheld saj sandwiches. 187 Atlantic Avenue, between Court and Clinton streets (Cobble Hill) near Brooklyn Bridge Park, and 34 35th Street, near Second Avenue (Sunset Park), a short distance from Sunset Park

Sunrise Mart: Sunrise Mart’s mesmerizing selection of Japanese snacks and beverages is now available for delivery through Mercato. A picnic spread can easily be assembled from the grocer’s lengthy list of offerings, which include Koala’s March crackers, several flavors of Pocky, Calbee potato chips, and 5-packs of Yakult. Multiple locations

Taverna Kyclades: Few cuisines are as well suited to a vegetarian or pescatarian picnic as Greek. The mezethes or “small bites” could make up a perfect buffet, including stuffed grape leaves, grilled octopus tentacles, a selection of pita dips, including garlicky potato skordalia, Greek salad with plenty of feta, and fried zucchini patties. This Greek old-timer with additional branches in the East Village and Bayside is not too far from Astoria Park, with amazing views of the East River and Ward’s Island from its sloping lawn. 33-07 Ditmars Boulevard, between 33rd and 35th streets, a 15-minute walk to Astoria Park

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