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Eater's Memorial Day Guide to Summer Picnics

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Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff of picnic season, and DC restaurateurs are on top of it. Here are a few great options around town that specialize in gourmet picnics, packaged and ready to go, with everything from wine and cheese to sandwiches and fried chicken buckets. The only thing missing is a picnic blanket.
Adele Chapin


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Art and Soul

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415 New Jersey Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 393-7777
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Call up Art and Soul 24 hours in advance starting Memorial Day weekend, then stop by the Capitol Hill restaurant for a picnic lunch for two. Choices include fried chicken and potato salad for $35, smoked turkey and avocado on focaccia for $32, or a selection of Executive Chef Wes Morton's charcuterie with cheese, a baguette, pickles and crackers for $30. All meals come with whole fruit, cookies, and water, as well as a jarred mixer with a cocktail recipe — just add alcohol.

2. Society Fair

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277 S Washington St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 683-3247
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Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong's food emporium in Alexandria offers a $50 "ultimate to-go picnic bag" for local pickup. That includes a bottle of Ponga Pinot Noir with a screw cap top, artisanal cheeses, prosciutto, salami, hummus, pita chips, crostini, olives, nuts, and chocolate chip cookies. Plastic wine glasses, plates, and utensils are thoughtfully provided. Also at Society Fair, find Todd Thrasher’s to-go cocktail mixes, in varieties like Thyme Lime and Thrasher’s Tiki Mix.

3. Cork Market & Tasting Room

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1805 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 265-2674
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Cork Market offers two choices for their specialty picnic baskets: go with a $25 sandwiches-for-two basket, or the chicken basket for $40, with a choice of herb-marinated buttermilk fried chicken or Peruvian grilled chicken. Each basket comes with picnic-ready sides like cookies and honey mint fruit salad, and a bottle of wine can be added for an additional price.

4. Hill Country

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410 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 556-2050
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Hill Country just started hosting outdoor bashes with live music, barbecue, cocktails, and Shiner beer outside the National Building Museum at 401 F Street NW. There's no cover; the barbecue is open five days a week, from Wednesday through Sunday, and they just changed their hours of operation to include lunch. Doors open at noon; here's the music schedule.

5. Central Michel Richard

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1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 626-0015
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Take a Central favorite on the road with Michel's Fried Chicken Bucket. Every box comes with six chicken nuggets, house-made dijon and mayo sauce, mashed potatoes and either two, four, or six pieces of fried chicken.

6. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

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1612 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009-4307
(202) 319-1612
Sidle up to Pearl Dive Oyster Palace's to-go window and pick up a fried chicken dinner for two for $20. That includes a bucket with six pieces of dark meat chicken, four scallion corn bread muffins, and two sides, like braised collard greens, slaw, or mac and cheese.

7. The Butcher's Block

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1600 King St
Alexandria, Va 22314
(703) 894-5253
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Robert Wiedmaier's Butcher Block also offers to-go picnic baskets packed with sandwiches like roast beef with bacon caramelized onions and house-roasted turkey with red onion marmalade, as well as chips, a choice of seasonal side dishes and drinks, all for $35. For $45, add in a bottle of wine, half bottle of sparkling or Wiedmaier's exclusive Antigoon Belgian Ale.

8. Glen's Garden Market

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2001 S St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 588-5698
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This new market, bar, and deli in Dupont Circle is already stocked with tons of picnic supplies, but starting Memorial Day weekend, customers will be able to take home customized picnic baskets filled with local cheese, jams, house-made charcuterie, bread from Lyon Bakery, local craft beers, wines from Virginia and New York.

9. DGS Delicatessen

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1317 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 293-4400
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An egg salad sandwich or smoked salmon pastrami combined with potato salad from DGS Delicatessen's new sandwich counter might make for a great picnic lunch. The “Sandwich Shop” counter opened May 7.

10. Woodward Takeout Food

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1426 H St. NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 347-5353
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Picnic-ready sandwiches at the newish WTF include a duck reuben on rye, shrimp salad roll, and fried chicken breast with cranberry relish on a toasted bun.

11. Cowgirl Creamery

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919 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 393-6880
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Call ahead at Cowgirl Creamery on F Street, and the staff will help together a picnic package with snacks like port-soaked figs, wine, craft beer, jams and chutney, salami, olives, almonds, and all sorts of cheese.

12. Bayou Bakery

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1515 N Courthouse Rd
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 243-2410
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Bayou Bakery’s entire menu is available to-go a la carte, so deviled eggs and pimento cheese spread and cheese straws would be ready to pack for a picnic.

13. Red Apron Butchery

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1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
Will there be a grill near your picnic? Both locations of Red Apron are offering a Summer Burger Series. For $25, customers can order a Memorial Day package which includes 4 Patties of Red Apron Blend, 4 oz. of Righteous Cheese's Pick of the Week, Gordy's Pickle Chips, a tomato and 4 Brioche Buns Freshly Baked by Tiffany MacIsaac. Pre-order is recommended, as a limited number of packages will be available.

1. Art and Soul

415 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
Call up Art and Soul 24 hours in advance starting Memorial Day weekend, then stop by the Capitol Hill restaurant for a picnic lunch for two. Choices include fried chicken and potato salad for $35, smoked turkey and avocado on focaccia for $32, or a selection of Executive Chef Wes Morton's charcuterie with cheese, a baguette, pickles and crackers for $30. All meals come with whole fruit, cookies, and water, as well as a jarred mixer with a cocktail recipe — just add alcohol.
415 New Jersey Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

2. Society Fair

277 S Washington St, Alexandria, VA 22314
Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong's food emporium in Alexandria offers a $50 "ultimate to-go picnic bag" for local pickup. That includes a bottle of Ponga Pinot Noir with a screw cap top, artisanal cheeses, prosciutto, salami, hummus, pita chips, crostini, olives, nuts, and chocolate chip cookies. Plastic wine glasses, plates, and utensils are thoughtfully provided. Also at Society Fair, find Todd Thrasher’s to-go cocktail mixes, in varieties like Thyme Lime and Thrasher’s Tiki Mix.
277 S Washington St
Alexandria, VA 22314

3. Cork Market & Tasting Room

1805 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Cork Market offers two choices for their specialty picnic baskets: go with a $25 sandwiches-for-two basket, or the chicken basket for $40, with a choice of herb-marinated buttermilk fried chicken or Peruvian grilled chicken. Each basket comes with picnic-ready sides like cookies and honey mint fruit salad, and a bottle of wine can be added for an additional price.
1805 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

4. Hill Country

410 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004
Hill Country just started hosting outdoor bashes with live music, barbecue, cocktails, and Shiner beer outside the National Building Museum at 401 F Street NW. There's no cover; the barbecue is open five days a week, from Wednesday through Sunday, and they just changed their hours of operation to include lunch. Doors open at noon; here's the music schedule.
410 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

5. Central Michel Richard

1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004
Take a Central favorite on the road with Michel's Fried Chicken Bucket. Every box comes with six chicken nuggets, house-made dijon and mayo sauce, mashed potatoes and either two, four, or six pieces of fried chicken.
1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004

6. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

1612 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009-4307
Sidle up to Pearl Dive Oyster Palace's to-go window and pick up a fried chicken dinner for two for $20. That includes a bucket with six pieces of dark meat chicken, four scallion corn bread muffins, and two sides, like braised collard greens, slaw, or mac and cheese.
1612 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009-4307

7. The Butcher's Block

1600 King St, Alexandria, Va 22314
Robert Wiedmaier's Butcher Block also offers to-go picnic baskets packed with sandwiches like roast beef with bacon caramelized onions and house-roasted turkey with red onion marmalade, as well as chips, a choice of seasonal side dishes and drinks, all for $35. For $45, add in a bottle of wine, half bottle of sparkling or Wiedmaier's exclusive Antigoon Belgian Ale.
1600 King St
Alexandria, Va 22314

8. Glen's Garden Market

2001 S St NW, Washington, DC 20009
This new market, bar, and deli in Dupont Circle is already stocked with tons of picnic supplies, but starting Memorial Day weekend, customers will be able to take home customized picnic baskets filled with local cheese, jams, house-made charcuterie, bread from Lyon Bakery, local craft beers, wines from Virginia and New York.
2001 S St NW
Washington, DC 20009

9. DGS Delicatessen

1317 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
An egg salad sandwich or smoked salmon pastrami combined with potato salad from DGS Delicatessen's new sandwich counter might make for a great picnic lunch. The “Sandwich Shop” counter opened May 7.
1317 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

10. Woodward Takeout Food

1426 H St. NW, Washington, DC 20005
Picnic-ready sandwiches at the newish WTF include a duck reuben on rye, shrimp salad roll, and fried chicken breast with cranberry relish on a toasted bun.
1426 H St. NW
Washington, DC 20005

11. Cowgirl Creamery

919 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004
Call ahead at Cowgirl Creamery on F Street, and the staff will help together a picnic package with snacks like port-soaked figs, wine, craft beer, jams and chutney, salami, olives, almonds, and all sorts of cheese.
919 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004

12. Bayou Bakery

1515 N Courthouse Rd, Arlington, VA 22201
Bayou Bakery’s entire menu is available to-go a la carte, so deviled eggs and pimento cheese spread and cheese straws would be ready to pack for a picnic.
1515 N Courthouse Rd
Arlington, VA 22201

13. Red Apron Butchery

1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Will there be a grill near your picnic? Both locations of Red Apron are offering a Summer Burger Series. For $25, customers can order a Memorial Day package which includes 4 Patties of Red Apron Blend, 4 oz. of Righteous Cheese's Pick of the Week, Gordy's Pickle Chips, a tomato and 4 Brioche Buns Freshly Baked by Tiffany MacIsaac. Pre-order is recommended, as a limited number of packages will be available.
1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

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