How to Throw a Perfect Summer Picnic

Never before have so many restaurants offered food to go. Here, a guide to what to pick up and what to pack it in, plus two easy recipes for dining al fresco.

By Marian Bull

The sun is shining, the whole friend group is vaccinated and everyone is ready to make up for lost time. Sure, you could book a table for eight and eat inside at a restaurant — it’s still a thrill — but we spent the last year figuring out how best to eat and socialize outside, and this summer is an opportunity to apply what we’ve learned. Restaurants, too, have adapted during the pandemic, working out which sandwiches wrap up best (sorry, sloppy Joes) and which cocktails translate well in to-go containers (it turns out there’s no bad receptacle for a margarita). And so we are living, it seems, in the golden age of the picnic. Here, a list of some the best restaurants across the country offering park-friendly fare, recommendations for colorful rugs and durable dinnerware to eat it on and a pair of recipes to try if you feel like playing chef for the day.

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