If Yogi Bear were real, he and Boo-Boo would be packing their bags and getting one-way tickets to Chicago. That's because this summer, lots of area restaurants are packing up gourmet picnic baskets that you can take to your next outdoor movie, concert or dinner under the stars. You'll never be satisfied with homemade turkey sandwiches again.
RECOMMENDED: Things to do in the summer in Chicago
The best gourmet picnic baskets in Chicago
If you're catching a free movie or concert in Millennium Park, there's no better option than this quaint cheese and wine shop that's bursting with gourmet goodies. Skip the line and order a customizable picnic (starting at $25). You'll pick a fresh, sweet or savory base, then add cheese, wine, sandwiches, charcuterie and sweets. For larger groups, consider the Little Conquest basket ($50) with assorted cheeses, prosciutto, artichokes, olives, a baguette and crostini. Order online for in-store pickup or delivery at pastoralartisan.com.
Cherry Circle Room is making the picnic and wine situation a tad easier on Tuesday nights with a carryout picnic for two available for $35. It's stuffed with burrata, prosciutto, a ficelle loaf, honey, tomato jam, popcorn and house-made cookies. You can also toss in a bottle of wine for $20 (pick from red, white, rosé or bubbly) or a large-format Belgian ale brewed with apples for $15. Preorder picnic baskets at tocktix.com and pick up between 4 and 7pm Tuesday.
Be the hero of the lunchtime picnic scene with melt-in-your-mouth fried poultry. Honey Butter Fried Chicken offers two lunch boxes that are fit for dining alfresco: Box #1 includes two pieces of fried chicken or chicken strips plus one side ($12) while Box #2 includes a fried chicken sandwich and one side ($10). Available Tuesday through Friday from 11am to 4pm for in-house dining, carryout or delivery via trycaviar.com.
Cheese, chocolate and wine are the three main food groups of picnicking, and this Mag Mile restaurant has you covered on all three fronts. Select a flight of cheese, chocolates and one bottle of red or white wine ($60) to be packaged up with bamboo utensils, plates and plastic wine glasses. Call 312-321-8738 to place your order.
With four locations (Bucktown, River North, Gold Coast and Andersonville) offering drool-worthy picnic packs, there's no excuse for a subpar outdoor dining. Piece together a variety of prepared food items, house-made sweets and an adult beverage of your choice. Plus, because you can full customize your order, these baskets do the trick for solo dining and feeding the masses. Call 773-292-7100 to place your order.
Situated directly across from Millennium Park, Remington's is ideal for those Tuesday night movies in the park. Traditionalists will appreciate the Meats & Cheeses basket ($43) with artisanal treats, bread and non-alcoholic beverages, while more adventurous foodies will want to go with the Small Bites package ($55), which includes your choice of two dips and snacks—guac and chips, hummus and pita, grilled artichokes or trout dip—plus beverages. Or get creative and order a la carte with heartier options like rotisserie chicken, sandwiches and key lime pie. Place your order at least 24 hours in advance by calling 773-772-1697 or visiting remingtonschicago.com.
Dine like a Parisian (Eiffel Tower not included) with Floriole's delightful picnic pack ($15–$20). Each Parisian Picnic includes a baguette sandwich, your choice of a seasonal side salad and a fresh-baked cookie. Take your goodies to go or enjoy it all on the patio with a bottle of wine. Call 773-883-1313 to place your order.