The Last-Minute Picnic: Where to Find Great Pre-Made Food for Outdoor Meals
When you just want to grab your picnic supplies and go, hit up these shops for the best pre-made meals in the West
The art of picnicking is really not hard: make some sandwiches and sides, and throw them into a basket along with a chilled bottle (or two) or rosé. But if you’re like me, and define a picnic as an easy meal, you simply pick up a fully stocked basket and perhaps some chilled cans of wine, set up on the perfect patch of grass or sand, and enjoy. Here are a few of our favorite spots for no-hassle, pre-packaged picnics to go.
Jimtown Store, Healdsburg. BYOP (Bring Your Own Picnic) is the philosophy in wine country, where the grounds of wineries such as Ram’s Gate, La Crema, Dutcher Crossing Winery, and Seghesio Family Vineyards are dotted with picnic tables and tasting rooms have bottles for purchase. Jimtown Store, a Sonoma County institution, sells all of the provisions you’ll need for an al fresco feast, plus easy grab-and-go boxed lunches including a baguette sammy (the signature comes with prosciutto, Pt. Reyes blue cheese, and fig and olive tapenade), buttermilk coleslaw, olives, fruit, and a Jimtown cookie. Kid-friendly lunches include a choice of PB&J or ham and cheese.
Cured, Boulder. With a cheese and sandwich counter, wine shop, and selection of farm-fresh foods and gourmet treats, Cured is a one-stop-shop for all of your picnic needs. They make things even easier with pre-made picnics for every imaginable Rocky Mountain adventure, like a tailgate at Red Rocks or a backcountry hike. Their Proper Picnic for two comes in a Peterboro wooden picnic basket filled with cheeses, meats, Marcona almonds, trail mix, olives, a baguette, red pepper jelly, Mast Brothers chocolates, and sparkling sodas.
Tucker & Bevvy, Honolulu. Before heading to Waikiki Beach, stop by Tucker & Bevy for to-go bags filled with beet, feta, and walnut salad or a chicken BLT and picnic sides like smoked gouda and bacon dip with pita chips. Groups can call ahead for picnic bags on ice that include a wrap, chips, fruit, and cookie. If you’re hitting the surf early, opt for the breakfast picnic spread of mango macadamia bread and a yogurt parfait.
Café Shakespeare, Boise. Lisa Peterson, owner of a’Tavola Gourmet Marketplace, is the brains behind this theater-side concession stand that runs during the Idaho Shakespeare Festival each summer. Individual picnic bags come with fancy sammys like curried chicken salad with almonds, currants, and mango chutney, plus a side and a cookie. If you want to give your neighbors food envy, order the Midsummer Picnic Basket for two, filled with chilled jumbo shrimp and Bloody Mary cocktail sauce, pasta salad, olives, and crostini with pan-fried onion dip.
Blakeslee Vineyard, Willamette Valley. New this season, Blakeslee Vineyard will start offering pre-made picnic baskets that can be ordered 24 hours in advance of your visit. Expect goodies like crackers and cheese from Willamette Valley Cheese Company, fresh fruit, cured meats, and even wine popsicles in flavors like Pinot Noir and blackberry.
Bento Picnic, Austin. Inspired by the healthy bento box kiosks found throughout Japan, owner Leanne Valenti launched this popular build-your-own bento shop in Austin. Choose a base of sticky rice, sesame soba noodles, or pumpkin or potato salad; then pick your protein, like pulled pork or teriyaki tofu. Every Japanese lunchbox comes with pickles and seasonal slaw, plus a side like tamagoyaki egg or honey butter cornbread. Valenti sources from local, organic farmers and her to-go boxes are recyclable and compostable.
Park City Riverhorse Provisions, Park City. The team behind Riverhorse on Main runs this café and market. Grab a charcuterie board accompanied by local cheeses and pickled veggies to go, or pick up a basket or box filled with a hearty meal. If you plan to burn through calories on the trails, reward yourself with a Southern-themed basket stocked with ribs or fried chicken and classic picnic sides like watermelon slices.
Picnic, Jackson Hole. An essential stop to fuel your adventures in Grand Teton National Park, this café from the owners of Jackson’s beloved Persephone Bakery uses baked-that-morning breads for sandwiches like chicken za’atar panini and pesto-spiked Caprese. Round out your boxed meal with salads, house-made chocolate chip-walnut cookies, and canned wines.