Eat Right: Picnic Foods from Restaurants
Summer has come in fits and starts this year, but (for this week at least) warm sunny days are here. Best to enjoy it fully while we can! Pack a picnic lunch to savor while you’re soaking up the rays. To make things easy, we’ve rounded up a few of the best picnic-ready options from Columbus restaurants.
2700 North High Street — Clintonville
1717 Northwest Blvd – Grandview
Acre specializes in healthy fare (think organic whole grains, free-range meats and local produce) served in a fast-casual setting, and their wraps are perfect for eating al fresco. Try the Moo Shu with chicken or tofu and mushrooms, edamame, and hoisin sauce; or the Mole with roasted peppers, onions, avocado cream and a mole sauce. Call in your order ahead of time for convenient drive-through pickup.
Brown Bag Deli
898 Mohawk Street — German Village
The German Village deli is a one-stop shop for picnicking needs. Pick up an array of specialty or build-your-own sandwiches, plus deviled eggs to start, a few pints of deli salads (watch for seasonal specials alongside classics like mustard potato salad, fruit salad, macaroni salad and close slaw) for the side, and homemade cookies, brownies and bars for dessert.
Chile Verde Cafe
4852 Sawmill Road — NW Columbus
1522 Gemini Place — Polaris
Anything that can be eaten sans utensils is ideal picnic fare, and tacos certainly fit the bill. Order a variety of soft flour or crispy corn tacos to go, with fillings ranging from mahi mahi fish tacos to chicken, beef or pork. And don’t forget the chips and salsa!
Cravings Carryout Cafe
Editor’s Note: now closed, reopening Downtown
227 E. 3rd Avenue — Italian Village
The menu at Cravings changes often, inspired by farmers market finds and the seasons, but one common standby is the BLT—and it’s tailor-made for a picnic. The traditional bacon and greens are amplified by roasted tomatoes and a lemon aioli. Like most sandwiches here, it’s served on an excellent housemade brioche roll.
248 S. 4th Street — Downtown
2836 W. Broad Street — Westgate
Hot dogs are classic camping food because they’re just about foolproof for cooking over a fire. For a picnic, make things easier by picking up a box of assorted dogs from Dirty Frank’s. Go simple with the Old Faithful (relish, onion and mustard) or fancy with The Sonoran—a bacon-wrapped dog topped with salsa verde, refried beans, tomatoes, cheddar, mayo and onion. Pick up a few sides of Sriracha Slaw and powdered sugar-dusted funnel fries as well.
Editor’s Note: Now closed
505 N. High Street — Downtown
A bucket of fried chicken is an iconic picnic favorite, but skip the fast-food chains and go a little more upscale with Memphis-style fine fried chicken from Double Comfort. Stop in to order 12 pieces of fried Gerber breasts, thighs, legs and/or wings, plus a few Southern sides (red-skinned mashed potatoes and braised greens are both great).
1105 Pennsylvania Avenue — Harrison West
How about a picnic brunch? Katalina’s has all sorts of easy to transport brunch options. Mexican French Toast sticks are served with sweet-and-spicy bacon and Ohio maple syrup dipping sauce, while Southern Brown Betty Biscuit Balls are filled with ham, apple butter and melted Amish cheddar. And you’ve got to pick up a few orders of Katalina’s famous Pancake Balls, filled with your choice of Nutella, dulce de leche or pumpkin-apple butter.
475 S. 3rd Street — German Village
A spread of Katzinger’s salads and sides makes for an enviable picnic feast. Katzinger’s Greek Salad, with feta, tomato, cucumber and onion, can be purchased by the pound. Provided your spread won’t be spending hours in the sun, splurge on an array of half-pound portions of their creamy mayo-based salads, like the beloved Macaroni Salad, Traditional Potato Salad, and the homemade chicken or tuna salads.
65 E. State Street — Downtown
Keep things light and fresh with the locally grown salads from Market 65. The typical order at this popular Downtown lunch spot is one entrée salad per person, but nothing’s keeping you from ordering a selection of salads for sharing among the group. Keep things simple by ordering from the Signature salads menu rather than creating your own—top picks include the Steakhouse with grilled sirloin, roasted mushrooms, onion strings and feta, or the Tuscan Orzo, with herb-marinated chicken, tomato and parmesan crisps.
4784 N. High Street — Clintonville
No meal is complete without dessert. Mozart’s has been delighting loyal customers with its European-style pastries for 20 years now. A fully stocked pastry case makes it easy to mix-and-match a dessert platter filled with European tea cookies, truffles, tartlets, petit fours and more.
Dine Originals Columbus celebrates, supports and promotes the culinary diversity that locally owned and operated member restaurants contribute to the identity and culture of our city. The nonprofit group is committed to strengthening the local economy and enriching the community through education and charitable partnerships.
On the first Wednesday of each month, each Dine Originals restaurant offers their own special dining experience, whether it’s a prix-fix dinner, a tasting menu, a retail wine night or a fun promotion. No matter which Dine Originals restaurant you visit tonight, you’ll be treated to a VIP dining experience that can’t be found anywhere else.
For more information, visit www.dineoriginalscolumbus.com.