Pack a Picnic in Chicago

The weather's warm, the clouds are fluffy white, you're donning white linen pants and sporting a sandal-ready pedicure. It's finally safe to picnic in Chicago. In the spirit of packing up to dine outdoors, check out the best Chicago gourmet grocers for basket-ready treats.

Updated: May 25, 2010

Picnic Provisions in Chicago

The Goddess & Grocer

1646 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Grab a bottle of Mariposa--a summery rose--and a few sammies, such as the California Dreaming, with honey-maple turkey, buttery avocado, Swiss, sprouts, lettuce and tomato and a slather of lemon mayo on multi-grain bread. Then, treat your sweet tooth to red velvet cupcakes, fudge-y brownies or--for a refreshing twist--Key lime bars. Just don't forget the blanket.

Fox & Obel

401 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611

Start by snagging a baguette--they're too good to pass by. Then, make your way to the fromagerie for some Taleggio-style Grayson from Virginia, silky slivers of prosciutto from the charcuterie counter and fresh-plucked fruit tarts at the bakery. Provided you can brave the crowds, Navy Pier--and its stellar lake view--isn't far away.

Trotter's To Go

1337 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

Killer spit-roasted meats, artisan sandwiches--think citrus-cured, smoked salmon with English cukes and creme fraiche on ciabatta--and garden-fresh salads like sweet corn, tomato and pea pods change with the seasons. Plan to end on a sweet note with the likes of chocolate-drizzled macaroons.

Pastoral Artisan

2945 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657

Come for a wedge of Harbourne, a goat blue from Britain; leave with a bottle of Saison Dupont farmhouse ale and sandwich stuffed with jamon Serrano, Manchego, membrillo, whole grain Dijon and field greens to boot.


2528 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

This independent specialty shop is a go-to for everyday wines. Translation: Bottles hover around $10. Grab a loaf of Red Hen bread, piquant olives, cured meat and specialty crackers, and you've got the makings of a great, impromptu outdoor date.