Thankfully, outdoor dining options in NYC have never been better. But for those looking to escape the crowds — or weeks-long, booked out reservations — of outdoor seating, packing food into a basket and picnicking under the sun may still be the best option for the warmer months ahead.
Below is a list of NYC restaurants selling outdoor picnic kits — or the supplies needed to make one — whether the occasion calls for tinned fish, jammy egg salad sandwiches, or cheese platters. If there’s something in your picnic basket that we’ve missed, let us know at email@example.com.
Agi’s Counter: Eastern European spot Agi’s launched a picnic basket with sweet and sour pickles, paprika chips, cabbage slaw, and a choice of sandwich (tuna, egg, or chicken salad) for $27.50. Orders must be placed in advance online. 818 Franklin Avenue, near Eastern Parkway, Crown Heights, a short walk away from Prospect Park
Big Night: This dinner party essentials shop has plenty of goodies to bring to a picnic: cute wine glasses, many kinds of tinned fish, and prepared dips from nearby Lighthouse. 154 Franklin Street, near Kent Street, Greenpoint, a short walk away from Transmitter Park
Ciao, Gloria: The Italian American cafe offers a menu full of light bites, including breakfast cookies, coffee cake, and sandwiches served on focaccia. 550 Vanderbilt Avenue, between Pacific and Dean Streets, Prospect Heights, a short walk away from Prospect Park
Eataly: A quick stroll through the Flatiron location of this global Italian food hall for meats, cheeses, and fluffy focaccia makes assembling a picnic spread an easy task. Picking just a few items may be the trickiest part. The aisles feel like they’re endlessly stocked with cheeses and cured meats, from burrata with soppressata to ricotta and mixed salumi. There’s also an option to order one the restaurant’s heartier panini sandwiches to be enjoyed outdoors. 200 Fifth Avenue, between West 23rd and 24th streets, Flatiron, across from Madison Square Park
Lekka Burger: Fast-casual vegan spot Lekka serves several picnic-worthy burgers and cool-down vegan milk shakes. 81 Warren Street, between West Broadway and Greenwich Street, Tribeca, near Rockefeller Park
Pastrami Queen: This longtime Upper East Side Jewish Deli is selling its classic pastrami sandwich along with a host of other sandwiches including fried chicken, tuna salad, and corned beef — all of which are ideal takeout options. Sides like the potato pancakes served with sour cream and apple sauce are also a good bet. 1125 Lexington Avenue, #2, near East 78th Street, Upper East Side, a few blocks away from Central Park
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. 994 Amsterdam Avenue, near West 109th Street, Upper West Side, a short walk away from Central Park
Rowdy Rooster: Fiery fried chicken is the draw at this tiny East Village hot spot, dished out in takeout bowls and sandwiched between puffy pao rolls with dollops of mint chutney and scallion yogurt. Round out the picnic spread with a couple orders of battered and fried pakoras, made here with potato and eggplant slices. 149 First Avenue, near East Ninth Street, a short walk away from Tompkins Square Park
Sahadi’s: Brooklyn favorite grocery store Sahadi’s is an ideal spot to assemble a DIY dinner of baba ganoush, hummus, and phyllo pies — as Eater deputy editor Erika Adams did — 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 walk away from Sunset Park
Super Burrito: When it comes to beach picnics, compact is key. Why not opt for one of the city’s best San Francisco-style burritos (versions include shrimp, poblano, and al pastor, among others) and bring it nearby to Rockaway beach? Super Burrito also has quesadillas, chips and queso, and tacos — plenty of fuel for a long, sandy day. 190 Beach 69th Street, at Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaways, a short walk to Rockaway Beach
Tashkent Supermarket: Last year, Eater critic Ryan Sutton proclaimed Tashkent one of NYC’s greatest hot buffets. No matter the season, that still rings true. Pick up prepared items like its “fantasy salad” ( chicken, mayo, and beets with pomegranate seeds) and bring it to nearby Brighton Beach to soak up some rays. 713 Brighton Beach Avenue, near Coney Island Avenue, Brighton Beach, a short walk to Brighton Beach
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 sylvan 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 an additional branch in 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, near Astoria Park
Winner in the Park: For picnic friendly fare, the hit Park Slope bakery Winner offers sandwiches, pastries, and picnic meals (including burritos by chef Alan Delagado, formerly of Xilonen, Thursdays through Sundays) — right in Prospect Park. Burritos are available 3 to 7:30 p.m., while Winner’s own sandwiches are available from 11 a.m. until close. During the week, the cafe opens at 7:30 a.m. with baked goods and coffee to fuel a morning walk or a lazy lunch sprawled on a blanket on one of the park’s many lawns. 401 West Drive at the Picnic House in Prospect Park
7 Grain Army: For a gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly picnic option, Matthew Tilden’s bakery near McCarren Park offers carrot-quinoa muffins, breakfast tacos, jerk mushroom bowls, and lemonade. There’s plenty to love here no matter your dietary needs. 88 Roebling Street, near North Seventh Street, Williamsburg, a short walk from McCarren Park