What's not to love about spring in Atlanta? Warmer weather signals the time for outdoor tailgating, barbecue, grilling out and, of course, picnics. Whether you are too busy to gather the items for a picnic yourself or just want to be spontaneous, here is a list of spots where you can get picnic foods to go.
- Alon's Bakery – Gourmet picnic boxes are perfect when heading to the park or an outdoor concert this spring. The elevated cuisine includes items like Asian flank steak, salmon cakes and pesto shrimp with avocado crema, among other items. There are numerous sides, cheeses, made-from-scratch breads and, of course, a bounty of tasty desserts. Plus, Alon's has two locations: Morningside neighborhood, close to Piedmont Park, and Dunwoody.
- Bellini Alimentari – Located inside Ponce City Market, this Italian spot serves up plenty of hearty foods, perfect to enjoy for a picnic. If you love specialty cheeses, this eatery has a wonderful variety. One of the best sandwiches is the prosciutto cotto (ham) -- the quality compared to others is, well, incomparable. Don't overlook dessert as the tiramisu is excellent and nicely packaged for portability. Stop in and put together your own basket or call ahead and have the staff put together an assortment of goodies for your picnic.
- Get Dinner to Go – If you are on the south side of town, we have you covered there, too. Get Dinner to Go offers a fantastic assortment of comfort foods. Meals are reasonably priced and packaged family style. Try the hickory smoked ribs or juicy roasted chicken with potato salad and baked beans for your next picnic. You can place your order online for pickup as early as 3 p.m. during the week or noon on Sunday.
- Parish – Many know this Old Fourth Ward restaurant for its upscale Southern cuisine in a beautiful historic decor. However, if you head downstairs, you'll find a counter with freshly made croissants and pastries as well as deli sandwiches and plenty of sweet treats. With picnic tables on the BeltLine, you can take your purchases and enjoy right in Parish's backyard or find another spot outdoors to enjoy the tasty dishes.
- Soho Cafe and Bakery – Tucked away in a strip mall in Sandy Springs, this gem is easily missed if you aren't looking for it. The deli and bakery has fantastic Reuben sandwiches but my favorite item is the pork belly tacos. Both are filling items for a picnic lunch. You can't leave without picking an assortment of sweets, which are baked fresh each day.
- Southern Art – Heading out to enjoy the beautiful Atlanta weather? Stop by this Buckhead restaurant to pick up some ham charcuterie or an order of chef Art Smith’s famous buttermilk fried chicken to enjoy during your picnic. Southern Art has garnered praise from A-list stars such as Oprah Winfrey and Lady Gaga.
- Sun in My Belly – The one-time hardware store in Kirkwood serves up a fantastic brunch and supper club dinner menu. And sandwiches can be ordered online for pickup. Think items like curried chicken salad or pimento cheese and bacon. Pair this with sides like beet couscous, Brussels sprouts slaw or a lavender biscuit.
- Wahoo! Provisions – Next door to Wahoo! Grill is this charming bodega. With many of the same wines that are on the menu at the restaurant, the bodega has provisions to make your own cheese and charcuterie plate along with lots of other upscale snacks perfect for a picnic or just an easy and light weeknight meal.
Malika Bowling is the author of Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More!, and founder of Roamilicious. Malika also has served as a judge at various culinary competitions and food festivals, including Taste of Atlanta. Her podcast, Just a Byte, can be downloaded from iTunes. Follow her on Twitter @MalikaBowling and Instagram.