Enjoy a picnic-style meal in your own backyard or favorite spot outdoors with the help of these local shops.
by Emily Clemente and Cady Smith
Summer and picnicking go together like bread and butter. Lucky for Raleigh, we’ve got quality bread and butter options here, along with loads of other artisan picnic items. Grab your favorite blanket and head to your favorite spot for an al-fresco meal (Dix Park? Fred Fletcher?) to truly savor summer.
Where to buy sandwiches and other prepared meals:
Want your food to have that picnic feel without the preparation? Try sandwiches from La Farm Bakery–not only do they offer picnic-style subs, but they also have hearty signature tastes like the Southwest Roasted Turkey and Croque Madame.
Old North Meats + Provisions has a mix of traditional options such as BLT and pastrami, while also offering some unique options like BBQ Carrot and Currywurst. Hillsborough Street’s Sub Conscious offers classic sandwiches and subs like Italian, meatball & cheese, Reuben and eggplant parmesan on some of the softest bread straight from New York.
Go Mediterranean with Neomonde’s platters, pitas and grab-and-go options, including falafel, grilled steak, lamb kafta and quinoa tabouli. Happy + Hale in North Hills has an array of vegetable-forward salads and bowls. Their selection ranges from bulgogi, to poke and quinoa bowls.
Durham’s Picnic retains its name for a reason. Their staples consist of pulled pork, fried chicken, brisket, and ribs with sides like potato salad, hush puppies, and pickled cucumbers and onions. You can order online or at their Durham location on Cole Mill Rd. For the perfect 4th of July picnic, order one of Catering Works’ holiday meals like their BBQ Bundle, Southern Fried Chicken Dinner, or their Summer Picnic spread. They also have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
Where to buy sandwich meat and protein options:
Level up your outdoor meal with artisanal meats. Alimentari at Left Bank offers fresh Italian meats, as does The Butcher’s Market (with three locations in the Triangle) which sources top-quality beef, poultry, pork and seafood. Reuben’s NY Deli in downtown Raleigh aims to bring an authentic New York-style Deli to North Carolina. Their selection includes pastrami, corned beef, turkey, and roast beef available to order online and pick up curbside.
Where to buy bread:
Elevate your picnic with true artisan, locally baked bread. Beloved Boulted Bread in downtown Raleigh offers options from rye to baguettes, scones and croissants too. Union Special Bread has sourdough, baguettes and vegan options. Plus, all of their flours are sourced locally from Lindley Mills in Graham, North Carolina.
Pro’s Epicurean Market & Cafe offers a wide selection of artisan bread including baguettes, Italian, rosemary olive oil and focaccia along with an array of cheeses, vegetables and entrees. If you want something hearth-baked, try Loaf Bakery in Durham. You can find all of your sandwich-making and picnicking needs with their market loaves and sourdough selections (as well as some sweet dessert products!).
Where to buy something sweet:
Satisfy your sweet tooth with these local bakeries and patisseries. Night Kitchen’s bakery-cafe offers a selection of pastries, including cookies, croissants, sweetbreads, tarts and pound cakes. For authentic French treats, Lucette Grace is a contemporary patisserie with pastries like a blueberry and violet tart, pain au chocolat and coconut frangipane. Or try their collection of traditional macarons with flavors such as vanilla, rose, hazelnut and salted caramel.
The weekly market at Rebus Works has a wide variety of sweets, ranging from Escazu Chocolates to handcrafted popsicles by Locopops, Homeland Creamery’s fresh ice cream, gluten-free bakes at Rising Thistle’s booth and Ubiquitous Eats’ sweet baked goods. And there’s always in-season ripe berries and peaches from local farmers markets for a healthier dessert option.
Where to buy jam, pickled veggies and other accompaniments:
Add some extra taste to your picnic with fresh spreads and preserves. Here are some local places to find the perfect accompaniment. Mrs. Ruth’s Jams offers artisanal jams made from fresh fruits grown by North Carolina farmers. Feeling adventurous? Try the strawberry jalapeno, orange fig, or balsamic cherry. Order Mrs. Ruth’s online or at Donovan’s Dish, La Farm Bakery, or Homewood Nursery. Pick up a jar of Imladris Farm’s local jam at your closest Whole Foods with traditional flavors like apple butter, blackberry and raspberry.
Looking to spice up traditional picnic fare? Cottage Lane Kitchen provides a variety of handmade spicy pepper relishes that can be purchased online or at the Weaver Street Markets and Whole Foods. For homemade pickled items that add a perfect tang to salty meats and creamy cheeses, stop by Bonlee Grown Farm’s booths at the local farmers’ market in Durham. Parker and Otis also offers a wide array of jams and spreads, from mango chutney and roasted garlic onion jam, to spinach and artichoke bruschetta spread and golden pepper pesto.
Where to buy refreshments:
Hot summer days are the best time to enjoy something cold and satisfying, especially when you’re planning an outdoor picnic. Tribucha produces craft-brewed kombucha in various flavors including rosemary and sage, rose and honeysuckle, and lemon, ginger, and berries that are available for order online. Raleigh’s Tin Roof Teas has a variety of high-quality loose leaf teas, so there’s something for everyone. Their selection ranges from black, green, fruit, herbal, oolong and decaf teas, which are available to order online or to buy at their store downtown.
Or if you want to mix it up with something fresh and tropical, try ordering from Raleigh Smoothie Bar, where you can choose from flavor blends such as Summer Fruit and Triple Berry, or customize your own smoothie with fruit and milk bases of your choice.
Don’t forget beverages for the adults. Check out our guide to shopping local for an at-home happy hour here.
Where to Shop for Accessories:
No picnic is complete without a few accessories. Want to relax in a hammock? Apex Outfitters offers hammocks, as well as outdoor kitchenware and coolers for the full backyard experience. You can also find hammocks from NC Hammock Company at N.C. Flea Market in addition to swings and rockers to unwind after your outdoor meal.
Check out the Durham Farmers’ Market for a variety of hand-woven baskets like these award-winning Rabbit Patch Baskets. Their classic market basket is perfect for holding your picnic fare and can double as storage when not in use.
P.S. From the archives, click here to read about Raleigh’s Junior League cookbook and ideas for a perfect picnic.