Summer time means picnic time, and with all of the beaches, parks, nature preserves and outdoor concerts on the North Shore, what better place is there to enjoy a picnic than right here?
But ditch the sandwich, chips and fruit — it’s definitely time to leave those school lunches behind. Instead, check out some of the North Shore’s best spots to pick up the perfect picnic feast. Better yet, these restaurants have done all of the work for you so you can spend your energy on having fun.
At Convito Cafe & Market you can pick up some delicious picnic fare and a bottle of wine in one stop. The market boasts a broad selection of wine from across the country and around the globe. Cold salads and grilled vegetables are available by the pound, as well as prepared sandwiches and entrees such as lasagna and parmesan chicken, imported cheese and deli meats and baked goods. Convito Cafe & Market, Plaza del Lago, 1515 Sheridan Road, Wilmette, 847-251-3654, www.convitocafeandmarket.com.
If you want to step up your picnicking a notch, then check out the Ravinia menu at Mirani’s At Home. Starters include cold soups and fresh salads, including gazpacho, fava bean and arugula and prosciutto and burrata salads. The main course selections are equally fancy, such as the seafood salad with shrimp and crabmeat, or the pasta primavera with sautéed vegetables and goat cheese. Place your order by noon on the day of pick-up, with earliest pick-up at 3:30 p.m. Marina’s At Home, 567B, Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, 847-446-4646, www.miranisathome.com.
With their “Feastival” box, Michael’s Hotdogs creates a perfect group picnic basket. Choose from wraps, salads, and bottles of wine for this portable party. The “Feastival” box also includes indestructible wine glasses, utensils and napkin settings, festival shades and a wine key. The online order form makes it easy to plan this perfect picnic. Michael’s Hotdogs, 1879 2nd Street, Highland Park, 847-432-3338, www.michaelshotdogs.com.
Catering by Michael’s expands upon these picnic options with a full delivery menu. Choose from seasonal favorites like fried chicken sandwiches, summer chopped salads, and mini apple pies. If you feel like planning ahead for your picnic, as the food must be ordered at least 72 hours ahead of time, your picnic group is sure to love this tasty summer selection. Place your order by phone 847-748-0212 or online at www.cateringbymichaels.com.
Foodstuffs is ideal for grab-and-go picnic fare. With a full salad bar, customizable or prepared sandwiches, soups, and an endless array of prepared foods such as pasta salad, sliders, and grilled veggies, your meal is set. Don’t forget to pick up some of the amazing dips and delicious sweet treats to fill your basket. Foodstuffs even offers “Meals to Go,” a wide variety of boxed meals with all your picnic necessities included. Some “Meals to Go” may require ordering in advance, so be sure to call prior to your picnic for the full package.
- Evanston: 2106 Central Street, Evanston 847-328-7704
- Glencoe: 338 Park Avenue, Glencoe 847-835-5105
- Glenview: 1456 Waukegan Road, Glenview 847-832-9999
- Lake Forest: 255 E. Westminster Avenue, Lake Forest 847-234-6600
- Online: www.foodstuffs.com.
Trueman Catering offers amazing catering services, but also has great pick up options for your summer picnic. Stop in to stock up on great salads, like the kale salad with garbanzo beans, dried cranberries, and almonds. Trueman also offers delicious to-go entrees like chicken fajitas and steamed tilapia. This spot is definitely keeping your picnic fresh and healthy. Trueman Catering, 745 Elm Street, Winnetka, 847-386-6240, www.truemancatering.com.
While Meg’s Café offers a great sit down menu, it also has a full assortment of prepared foods which are begging to be taken on a picnic. The offerings include a range of the restaurant’s popular entrees, ready-to-go salads, and sweet treats. Meg’s Apple A Day Catering business also offers gourmet boxed meals. Choose from boxed sandwiches or salads for your group picnic, including silverware and a freshly baked dessert. Meg’s Cafe, 317 Park Avenue, Glencoe.
Avli Rotisserie makes it easy to pick up your favorite Greek rotisserie with plenty of sides for your next picnic. Choose from rotisserie chicken or pork in the form of a rice bowl, sandwich, or salad. They also offer gyros and sides of rice, Greek fries, and homemade mac & cheese. The small and customizable menu makes it easy to pick up individual dishes for your picnic which will please everyone. Avi Rotisserie, 556 Chestnut Street, Winnetka, 847-446-6000, www.avli.us/rotisserie.
While True Juice is most popular for its delicious smoothies and juices, this healthy spot also offers great to-go food for a fresh picnic. Choose from the many prepared salads, like the kale pecorino salad, the chicken quinoa salad, or the mesclun salad with grilled chicken, to name a few. True Juice also offers an array of soups made daily in the store. You can even grab a raw brownie to top off your healthy picnic.
True Juice locations:
- Highland Park: 1852 1st Street, Highland Park 847-748-8783
- Winnetka: 542 Chestnut Street, Winnetka 847-784-8796, www.truejuicewinnetka.com
Jar Bar has a huge range of to-go meals that come in a prepared jar — perfect for picnics. With acai jars, egg jars, oatmeal jars, salad jars, and sandwich jars, Jar Bar has you covered for a picnic at any time of day. They even offer cake jars in a variety of flavors to end your picnic on a sweet note. Your whole group is sure to love this adorably packaged picnic. Jar Bar, 1350 Shermer Road, Northbrook, 847-715-9367, www.jarbar.com.
Real Urban Barbecue — fondly known as RUB — this spot will load your picnic basket with hearty BBQ. In addition to the full menu, RUB offers great Family Packs for your next summer picnic. Choose from ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and brisket accompanied by multiple sides and mini buns to build your own sliders. The package even comes with quarts of refreshing lemonade or iced tea. This is the perfect selection for your next big group picnic. Make sure to request extra napkins for this saucy meal. Real Urban Barbecue, 610 Central Avenue #177, Highland Park (Port Clinton Square), 223-770-4227, www. realurbanbbq.com.
Clucker’s Charcoal Chicken is Highwood’s go-to spot for delicious chicken, with great rotisserie, sandwiches, and more. In addition to their full menu, Clucker’s offers a “Meal-in-a-Box” which is made for your next picnic. Choose a white or dark meat rotisserie chicken box or from the selection of sandwiches and wraps, including Cajun crispy, the chopped veggie wrap, and chicken on slaw. While you’re at it, pick up some a la carte sides, ranging from garlic smashed reds to mac ’n cheese. This flavorful selection is sure to be a hit at the next picnic. Clucker’s Charcoal Chicken, 760 Sheridan Road, Highwood, 847-432-2582, www.cluckerscharcoalchicken.com.