Thanks to gorgeous weather and plenty of scenic places to set down a blanket, L.A. is always prime for a picnic—but this month a Michelin-starred chef is making an alfresco affair even easier.
Curtis Stone just took over a corner of the Grove with Picnic Society, a four-month residency devoted to the art of the picnic, complete with a full-service restaurant, to-go picnic baskets and a grab-and-go market for cheese, spreads, salads and other picnic-food essentials. The sunny restaurant officially launches on Monday, September 14, but is currently already soft-open to the public.
The Maude and Gwen chef’s four-month concept fills a space recently held by another celebrity chef; Dominique Ansel’s two-story 189 by Dominique Ansel opened there in 2017 and, along with its first-floor bakery, has been closed since March, at first temporarily, then permanently.
Now that pastry case is trading Ansel’s famous Cronuts and other whimsical sweets in favor of new creations by Stone’s fantastic pastry team, including tarts, cakes and jarred puddings.
You can take these goods on your own picnic anywhere, or enjoy them on-site—after all, a picnic can be a picnic just about anywhere, and there’s nothing that lends itself to an era of outdoor-only dining as well as a picnic.
“The world has changed in recent months, and so has the way that we enjoy food and come together,” Stone says in a news release. “I began thinking back to the stories of early 19th-century gatherings of ‘picnic societies’ in Europe. With good food and the right company, you can really make anywhere in the world your restaurant, and I look forward to elevating this experience for the Los Angeles community.”
Expect a picnic-themed dine-in area on the restaurant’s second-floor terrace that sports blankets and other summery settings thanks to a partnership with local event company WonderTent Parties—which does some gorgeous work with outdoor dining and glamping already—plus a menu of burgers, European-style baguette sandwiches, cheeseboards and, for those of us already obsessed with Gwen’s in-house butchery program, Stone’s signature artisan charcuterie. The residency will also include a few summery cocktails to pair with all those onsite picnic spreads, naturally.
Curtis Stone’s Picnic Society is currently soft-open at the Grove, which is located at 189 The Grove Dr, and sits next to the fountain.
Since publishing this story, Time Out L.A. received confirmation that Dominique Ansel's concepts within the Grove have indeed permanently closed. This piece has been updated to reflect that.