After all, everything tastes better when it's eaten in a park.
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72 W. 69th St., 212-580-4300, $21
Customize your three-piece meal by choosing a main course, side salad and dessert. All mains — fried chicken, preserved tuna salad, mushroom-fontina focaccia and a Cuban sandwich — are served with salt & vinegar fries. Salads are anything but boring lettuce, with farro tabbouleh and spicy cole slaw among your options. Save room for a blueberry pie crescent, red velvet cupcake or assorted cookie dish. Phone or fax orders at 212-580-4300, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Orders must be placed by 5 p.m. the day prior to the pickup.
David Burke at Bloomingdales
1000 Third Ave., 212-705-3800, prices vary
Think beyond PB&J: More than 40 hot and cold options await for your choosing, , including everything from barbecue chicken wing dumplings, to burgers, to crispy fish tacos. Watch as chefs sporting “Chewdoin’” tee shirts prepare your meal in the open kitchen. Grab a cheesecake lollipop for the kids, and if you steal it for yourself, we promise not to tell.
1900 Broadway, 212-595-9606
Chef David Boulud’s epicerie — a French grocery store of gourmet goods — is steps away from Central Park. You can create your own picnic with salads like Moroccan chick pea and pastries like yuzu lemon tartes, or order the packed picnic ($22), which is a choice of a sandwich (we’d opt for the Parisian ham, or the lobster roll) with chips, dessert and water. Your meal comes in a recycled tote, but you can add a picnic blanket or basket for extra.
123 Ludlow St., 212-228-2884, $14-$500 (if you are going all-out!)
Wendy Weston, the founder of this take-out concept, thinks that you don’t need a celebrity chef in the kitchen to make a great picnic. Pop by her Lower East Side location to choose local products for one of five packages. We’re all about the Classic: Two artisanal cheeses, two cured meats from Slumeria Biellesa, Pain D’Avigon’s baguette, Beth’s Farm Kitchen’s seasonal jam, marinated olives, Liddabit Sweets sea salt caramels and bottled water ($32 for two people). Or, just place your order on the phone: Baskets can be delivered anywhere in the city.