New York City doesn’t get much better than a sunny day in Central Park. We’re as ready as you are to post up near The Lake with a picnic blanket, but we’ve got to have the food covered first. Here are several options for your picnic, whether you’re looking for a DIY feel, a grill-out day with restaurant steaks, or a concierge picnic service that delivers everything from a chicken wrap to a phone charger. Here are 6 places around town where you can order a delicious picnic spread.
Zabar's, the classic Upper West Side market, is a feast for the senses. Go to the Broadway location for bagels and lox, a wide range of cheeses, charcuterie, and baked goods like rugelach. Behind the deli counter are corned beef sandwiches, soups, and more that you can order to-go. While you’re around, grab a bag of gourmet coffee roasted in-house! 2245 Broadway, 212-787-2000, zabars.com
You’ll win at any picnic with mouth-watering steak. Grill like a steakhouse pro with a Steak To Go Kit from Strip House's midtown location. These kits feed six or more guests and come with premium cuts of beef, Strip House’s signature seasonings, and Grilling 101 tips. If you’re bringing a party to Central Park for a special occasion, reserve a grill there and order your Steak To Go Kit 48 hours in advance from Strip House. 15 W. 44th St., 212-336-5454, striphouse.com
Picnic lifestyle is serious business for the folks at Upicnic. This delivery service can bring custom packages of food, supplies, and even games to any part of Central Park you’d like. Their food options run the gamut between fruit platters, sandwiches, desserts, and kid-friendly meals. Take your picnic to the next level with a Bluetooth speaker to play music, plus gaming supplies like a Cards Against Humanity deck, a frisbee, or cornhole. Picnic Packages include a Romantic Picnic for two, The Casual Snacker Picnic, and Game Day Picnic. Upicnic can also help plan your next event! Various delivery locations, 646-450-2490, upicnic.com
Stand in line at Levain on the Upper West Side, and get ready for the best cookie of all time. This celebrated bakery makes massive, gooey cookies in a rotating selection of flavors such as Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip and oatmeal raisin. Take your cookie to Central Park nearby, and enjoy the sunshine (but don’t be surprised if half of it is gone by the time you hit Sheep Meadow). 167 W. 74th St., 212-874-6080, levainbakery.com (and coming soon to the Upper East Side, too!)
Perhaps the most popular choice for Central Park picnickers, Whole Foods is conveniently located at The Shops at Columbus Circle at the park’s southwest corner. This grocery store and market specializes in fresh, healthful foods and offers plenty of ready-made meals such as pizza, sushi, sandwiches, and more. A buffet of salad ingredients and hot entrees like roast chicken also offer a customizable meal option, and there are bottled drinks galore. If you’d like to pick up some flowers for a more festive afternoon on the lawn, you can pick those up here too. 10 Columbus Cir., 212-823-9600, wholefoodsmarket.com
Russ & Daughters at The Jewish Museum
If you’re coming from The Upper East Side to the park, stop by Russ & Daughters. Among the premiere delis in the city, this location at The Jewish Museum offers all the bagel greatness of its flagship location on the Lower East Side—but with less of a wait. The takeaway menu offers R&D’s signature bagels with lox and cream cheese, Fancy Delancey sandwich, sweets like chocolate babka, and beverages for the ultimate picnic. 1109 Fifth Ave., 212-475-4880, russanddaughters.com