Perfect picnic fare at Atlanta restaurants (and the best places to spread a blanket)
With more and more restaurants keen to offer food that travels well, picnic options are arguably better than ever. This situation is unlikely to last (and frankly, thank goodness). But meanwhile, here are some of the best snacks to take to the park and some of our favorite places to spread a blanket.
This Atlanta institution has been serving solid Japanese cuisine since 1972, but you can’t really bring fondue to the park. Fortunately, the restaurant’s sushi is always fresh and thoughtfully packaged to be executed.
Bring it to: Morningside Nature Preserve, where you can watch dogs play in the sand along the creek
James Beard contestant Jarrett Stieber has pivoted hard to take out during the pandemic, and while the restaurant has since reopened for catering, you can still pick up the prix fixe menu ‘Just Fuck Me Up, Fam ”by Stieber to go, which could include menu staples like his Caesar salad gefilte and beef mala with matzo balls.
Bring it to: Damn, you say? In keeping with the theme, make your way to Constitution Lakes and dine among the doll heads.
The pizza is made in advance and does not require silverware. This pizzeria offers popular vegan pies (with an optional gluten-free cauliflower crust) as well as calzones, another perfectly portable option. Try the Georgia Peach, a pie with spicy Beyond sausage, roasted peaches, red onions and jalapeños.
Bring it to: Liberty Park
Hunt it with: Honey Bubble Milk and Bubble Teas, right in front of Ponce Park
This bustling Israeli restaurant on Ponce charges $ 18 in exchange for six mezze, which can include roasted beets, sumac coleslaw, pickles, olives, and more. Add the restaurant’s # 2 pita and hummus – with roasted butternut squash, harissa, and the dukkah nut and spice blend – and one or two of its drizzled Turkish coffee shakes and you’ve got the fixings for a pretty good afternoon.
Just a few steps from BeltLine: Fourth Quarter Historical Park
Big Dave’s Cheese Steaks
West Philly transplanter Derrick Hayes has gained a quick and loyal following for his huge, cheesy, grass-fed beef steaks, very portable (and very cheesy) egg rolls and staunch support for workers of Covid Health and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Bring it to: Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, a verdant urban oasis with Civil War earthworks. The forest is also home to a magnificent waterfall.
JCT. Kitchen & Bar
This Ford Fry joint features a fried chicken picnic for two, including the titular bird, cookies and jam, devil eggs, braised greens, and mac and cheese.
Bring it to: The long-awaited Westside Park, built around the massive Bellwood Quarry Reservoir, is set to open this summer just minutes away; it will be the largest park in the city. The initial phase of the park will include trails, a “great viewpoint” and a picnic lawn.
Ffriends sites: Bellwood Quarry has been the location for scenes from The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, The Hunger Games, and other movies and TV shows.
Caribbean restaurant Tassa
This Caribbean spot in Marietta is a popular destination for rich, well-spiced chicken, goat, chickpeas and potatoes, and more, wrapped in tender roasted flatbread. Take a juice of sorrel, passion fruit or fresh soursop to accompany it.
Bring it on: An afternoon stroll through the East Palisades trails along the Chattahoochee River
It takes 48 hours ‘notice, but Linton Hopkins’ Piedmont Park Picnic for Two provides a nice Southern lunch and possibly leftovers: half a loaf of bread, a pint of chili cheese, bread pickles and with Holeman & Finch butter and Zapps crisps, plus two cookies.
Bring it to: Where else? Piedmont Park. If you spread your blanket at the north end of the park, you can easily grab a beer from Orpheus Brewing afterwards.
Linger: Buttery’s grocery options when you collect your food. From packaged sauces and seasonings to fine meats and cheeses to some of pastry chef Jen Yee’s wonderful cookies and croissants, you might find a few other things to love at this thoughtful little market.
Butcher & Miscellaneous
The head of this brand new VaHi company is Myles Moody, who worked with Linton Hopkins; the thing to get is a picnic basket for two or four, with cheese, ham, tomatoes, pork rillettes and a baguette, plus (optional) caviar.
Bring it to: Orme Park, a nice little VaHi corner built around Clear Creek and restored ten years ago
Sweet treat: If you don’t mind heading back to Virginia Avenue, Kinship is right next to Paolo’s Gelato – and a little cioccolato (or lemon sorbet) doesn’t hurt anyone.
No matter how many you order, Lee’s puts together some of Atlanta’s best banh mi, but a pro tip if you’re feeding a crowd: buy five, get one free. A few classic pork banh mi, like one with ham, head cheese, and pate, come with solid vegetarian options, including an avocado and a tofu sandwich.
Bring it to: The picnic tables at Doc Manget Memorial Aviation Park, where you can watch planes take off and land at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (and kids can run around in an aviation-themed playground). There are also hiking trails just across Clairmont Road in Ashford Forest Preserve, previously a ‘protection zone’ for one of the (now disused) airport runways.
Lake & Oak barbecue
Chef Todd Richards’ East Lake barbecue restaurant sells individual plates, but you’ll also find ways to feed a family: you can order brisket, ribs, chicken wings and pulled pork by the pound, to accompany pints of Brussels sprouts and cabbage. coleslaw, smoked chicken baked coleslaw, smoked macaroni and cheese, and more.
Bring it to: Kirkwood Urban Forest Preserve, a five-acre green space with picnic tables, meadow, community garden and frog pond
One of the best deals is that the city right now is all they serve on any given day at Staplehouse, which during the pandemic converted from a temple of food to a much more accessible (and affordable) market. ) with an impossible- miss the take-out menu. Grab a pepperoni pie, cheese, crackers, and some cannelés and head to Grant Park.
Something to consider: Pass by 3 Parks Wine Shop en route for something to sip. (If you buy it in a box and use a koozie, you probably won’t mind.)
Dosirak are Korean lunch boxes, with a bed of rice serving as the base for a few carefully chosen components: at this Edgewood Avenue spot, you can choose from bulgogi (marinated beef), japchae (sautéed glass noodles). , kimbap (a seaweed and rice roll similar to sushi), dumplings and Korean fried chicken. (Also note: it’s just around the corner from the Sweet Stack Creamery.)
Bring it to: Rose Circle Park, home to the 0 Mile Marker for the Atlanta Beltline, and right across the street from the Lee + White neighborhood brewing array
At the Roswell location of the Atlanta area icon, Jenny’s Supper, a posh PB&J – with local Georgia peanut butter and jam from Fairywood Thicket Farm, on Alon Bread – will set you back six dollars and give you plenty of fuel to explore Roswell’s extensive hiking trails.
Check: The Roswell Riverwalk at Azalea Park, or the extensive trail system around Vickery Creek Falls
This article appears in our June 2021 issue.