Planning for summer? Check out the Ravinia concert lineup and the 2013 city farmers' markets guide.
Pastoral and Millennium Park
Just two blocks from the Bean, this local cheese shop offers cheeky sandwiches and salads like the BridgePork (prosciutto and manchego covered in field greens and red onions) and roasted beet salad with blue cheese and oranges. Grab a bottle of wine to complete the picnic lunch.
Panozzo's Italian Market and Museum Campus
Welcome to this hidden gem of a South Loop lunch spot, famous for sandwiches like chicken thigh confit, meatballs in red sauce and parmesan cream, salumi with pickled onions, smoked ham with a fruity mostarda and melt-in-your-mouth porchetta and fennel, all sandwiched in crackly, chewy bread. After lunch, take a scenic walk down the lakefront and head to any of the museums to complete a perfectly lazy afternoon.
Zaleski & Horvath Market Cafe and Promontory Point
Pack freshly made picnic options like paninis, daily soups and deli sandwiches from this neighborhood market to enjoy on the lakefront. Don’t forget dessert—muffins, scones and buttery croissants are all on offer in the bakery case.
Farmer’s Pride Cafe and Humboldt Park
This hidden spot at the corner of Western and Chicago is a short bike ride away from Humboldt Park, where picnickers can stock up on lunching essentials like house-made tuna salad sandwiches, caprese paninis and hot or iced Star Lounge coffee.
Frances’ Restaurant and Deli and Oz Park
Since 1938, Frances' has been satisfying deli lovers with omelets, soup, huge sandwiches and milkshakes becoming Lincoln Park's oldest deli. For a classic Frances' meal try a #11 sandwich (roast turkey breast, Muenster cheese and honey mustard on grilled challah bread), chopped liver, matzoh ball soup, or one of Frances' seven different kinds of root beer.
Cipollina and Wicker Park
This Italian takeout spot showcases deli meats and cheeses, the shelves are stocked with Italian groceries (perfect for prepping pasta dishes at home) and the menu lists panini and gourmet sub sandwiches such as prosciutto di Parma with arugula, chopped Calabrian peppers and Parmesan-truffle butter.
Piatto Pronto and Montrose Beach
Pick up one of 36 different sandwiches to go at this Italian deli. Owner Mike Itta recommends the Dolce di Parma, made with proscuitto di Parma, tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella, olive oil and tapenade on a fresh baguette. Take home some homemade Italian gelato or cookies for dessert, and on the weekends, check out the fresh pasta and homemade sauces.
Gene’s Sausage Shop and Winnemac Park
Look for more than 40 varieties of pork sausages (there are two smoke houses on site) and a selection of other prepared foods such as cabbage rolls and pierogi. A large European grocery section offering imported wine, beer, liqueurs and other sundry items fills the remainder of the storefront. Stop by nearby Provenance for wine and veggie-friendly options.
Three R's Filipino Restaurant and Grocery and Horner Park
Pull up a table and unleash the picnic spread of tasty, takeout-friendly Filipino dishes like empanadas, adobo pork and poncit (stir-fried noodles with carrots, cabbage and chicken).
Logan Square Farmers’ Market and Illinois Centennial Monument
Stop by this open-air neighborhood farmers’ markets on Sundays to stock up on freshly baked goods, locally grown produce and prepared foods like British-style sausage sandwiches, zeppole (Italian doughnuts), cream puffs and tamales. Pull up a patch of grass to stay or head across the street to the monument park for a better view of the neighborhood.
Al's Deli and Shakespeare Garden
A window display of the deli's fresh-baked cookies lures locals in--and the goods don't disappoint, especially the iced butter cookies. The cafe is also known for its changing-daily menu of homemade soups, best enjoyed alongside a half sandwich, with favorites including the turkey with aioli on a baguette. Load up on French-inspired goodies and walk over to the scenic Shakespeare Garden on the Northwestern campus, where the flowers and poems of the famed playwright are celebrated.