With more than 300 days of sunshine per year in the Capitol City, outside’s where it’s at. Lucky for us, there are a ton of shops that make it easy to pack a picnic on-the-go. So go ahead, try some (or all) of our recommendations!
Avenue B Grocery
Sandwiches. So universal. So beloved by picnicking families and friends. What’s the big deal about Avenue B Grocery? Oh, right. The sandwiches. This old-time general store, surrounded by blocks of Hyde Park apartments, offers a bountiful selection of handmade sandwiches* and other old-school delicacies like homemade soups. Pick up a passel of sandwiches and take ‘em to the park, or just step outside the store and have a seat at one of the picnic tables. *Why do people get so worked up about handmade sandwiches? Are there some other kinds of sandwiches that aren’t made by hand?
4403 Avenue B | (512) 453-3921 | www.avenuebgrocery.com
Open Mon-Sat, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
It’s so disconcerting how some places just seem to repel customers with lousy customer service, a total lack of attention to detail, and, above all, crappy food. Thankfully, Whip-in does just the opposite, attracting a motley herd of shoppers who have fallen in love with this kooky south Austin conglomeration that’s grown from a highway gas station into a funky, fresh shop offering unusual wines, a ton of treats (including our favorite sticky Toffee Pudding and Brazilian cheese balls). The groceries are great if your picnic isn’t planned for a post-haste timeframe. If yer rarin’ to eat, order from the counter. And if you’re a carnivore, get anything with lamb and try to ignore the smiling face of Ghandi on the poster behind the counter.
1950 S. IH-35 | (512) 442-5337 | www.whipin.com
Open daily, 10 a.m. – midnight
Hyde Park Market, Deli, & Organic Grocery
Back in the day, this place was a run-of-the-mill gas-and-go. Now you can gas up, grab a selection from a staggering choice of beers, pick up some groovy little deli supplies or exotic chocolates, and go. Can we talk about the staggering choice of beers again? This place isn’t a gas station with a lot of beer, it’s a freakin’ beer emporium that happens to sell gas. Luckily, you can easily avoid mixing the drinking and the gassing up. Take your booty (and your loot), stroll over to shipe Park and watch the guys play tennis. sorry, i meant share a picnic with your friends.
4429 Duval St. | (512) 420-0222
Open Sun – Fri, 6:30 a.m. – midnight; Sat, 6:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
Swoon. Everything about this place is just so right. If you’re hoping to run in, grab a standard and run out, you can do that. If you’re looking to have an honest-to-goodness cheese consultation, you can do that too. And with an impressive array of olives, charcuterie, wine, bread and other snacky treats, this place is a picnic-lover’s paradise. Take note: if a gem of a girl named Kelly is working when you stop by, she’ll have you laughing so hard you’ll probably feel a little bit better about the chunk of change you just dropped. Worth every penny of cheese love you’ll find in this family-owned business of John and Kendell Antonelli.
4220 Duval St. | (512) 531-9610 | antonellischeese.com
Open Tuesday–Saturday, 11 a.m. -7 p.m.; Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.
Thom’s Market Fresh Neighborhood Grocery
Thom’s Market. How do we love you? Let us count the ways. We love you because we didn’t want to go to the big box place just to pick up a bottle of wine. We love you be- cause we are so hung over and just want one of those tacos from Taco Deli that make us feel so much better after we scarf it down and have another nap. We love you because the people who work inside you are always so nice to us, even if we’re hung over and ordering tacos with bedhead and dragon breath. And we love you for all the little staples that thank God you carry because we just didn’t want to go to the supermarket to grab all the merchandise we are going to need to pull off this kick-ass picnic we have planned.
1418 Barton Springs Rd. | (512) 479-9800 www.thomsmarket.com
OpenMon-Sat, 8a.m-10p.m.;Sun, 10a.m.-8p.m.
Royal Blue Grocery
There are a lot of great things about living in Austin. It’s sunny. It’s friendly. People read books here. But what’s the one thing Austin needs that true urban cities have on every corner? No, not crackheads. Corner stores. Royal Blue Grocery reproduces this urban staple for downtown denizens, offering essential groceries and specialty items in an in-and-out location. Perfect if your picnic plans are in the heart of the city.
247 West 3rd St. | (512) 499-3993 www.royalbluegrocery.com
Open daily, 7 a.m. – midnight
Farm to Market Grocery
You know when you hear or say a word so many times it stops having any real meaning and just becomes a sound? in Austin, those overused words might well include eclectic, green, tech, hipster and local. Farm to Market Grocery can help return a little meaning to at least that last word by helping to make building a local-product picnic easy. Just fill your basket with hometown favorites like Austin slow Burn jalapeno jams, beers from independence Brewing, nada Moo vegan ice cream, Tom’s Tabooley, sweet leaf Tea, and a pile of other meaningful choices.
1718 South Congress | (512) 462-7220 | www.fm1718.com
Open daily, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Honorable Mention: Monarch Food Mart
Dear Monarch Food Mart,
Why do you call yourself a food mart? You are not a food mart. Yes, you have snickers bars and Cheetos and other things we don’t like. But that does not make you a food mart. You, sir, are a wine mart. You have lots and lots and lots of wine. And the kicker? It’s wine we will totally drink.
1402 E. 38 1/2 St. | (512) 478-4492
Open Mon – Sat 7a.m – 12 p.m.; Sun 8 a.m – 11p.m.