Summer gives us so many welcome excuses to dine al fresco while surrounded by friends, family and, if we’re lucky, some amazing live entertainment. In Memphis, the Levitt Shell free concert series has kicked off with a bang, and Live at the Garden’s lineup promises to keep us moving and grooving until fall — each providing further proof that picnic season is officially here. (Did you know International Picnic Day is set for June 18?) And now, thanks to some of our favorite Memphis food establishments, packing a meal for two or more has never been easier. With these grab-and-go picnics, all you need to worry about is the weather.
Humphrey’s Prime Cut Shoppe
551 South Mendenhall Road, Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 328-2245
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Closed Sundays
At Humphrey’s, the Folk’s Folly-owned butcher shop, prime steaks and seafood are always must-buys. But did you know that the recipe for Ms. Terry’s in-store-only chicken salad, served up by Ms. Terry herself, goes back four decades? Stop in Monday through Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m. for a container of the beloved chicken salad, as well as pimento cheese and oven-ready Folk’s Folly sides.
737 Harbor Bend Rd, Memphis, TN 38103 • (901) 526-4772
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Harbor Town’s treasured grocer Cordelia’s Market recently revamped its grab-and-go section with dozens of pre-made options — from pork tenderloin and mac and cheese, to salads and wraps. A growler station will top off your spread with the best of local brews, and on Wednesdays, a handful of food trucks park outside the market to offer a bevy of dinner options that you can carry out or enjoy on the outdoor picnic tables.
Pimento’s Kitchen + Market
6450 Poplar Avenue #123, Memphis, TN 38119 • (901) 602-5488
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sundays, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In East Memphis, Pimento’s was built with the on-the-go customer in mind. The dedicated grab-and-go section at the front of the restaurant keeps plenty of pimento cheese in stock (obviously), as well as salads, soups and sandwiches from their expansive menu. Don’t miss Pimento’s signature flatbreads, which you can order ahead.
5259 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38119 • (901) 685-9744
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 10:45 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Summers are for barbecue, and Corky’s does Memphis BBQ right. Whether you’re ordering for 10 or 10 dozen, the committed catering staff will address every need. For a family on the go, be sure to take advantage of the drive-thru window on Poplar and White Station for pulled pork sandwiches, slabs of ribs, chicken drummies and more. And the pecan and chocolate pies should not be missed.
I Love Juice Bar
Multiple Locations: Tennessee Brewery, Crosstown Concourse, Cooper-Young
The vegetarian cooler in your nearest Juice Bar location — downtown at the Tennessee Brewery, in Crosstown Concourse, or in Cooper-Young right off Peabody Avenue — is a delicious and healthy option for grab-and-go picnics. Vegetarian spring rolls with an addictive peanut sauce are a perfect appetizer, especially when paired with the soba Pad Thai-style noodles and a ginger carrot juice.
Gus’s Fried Chicken
Downtown: 310 S Front Street, Memphis, TN 38103 • (901) 527-4877
East Memphis: 730 S Mendenhall Road, Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 767-2323
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
You’re guaranteed to be the favorite dinner party guest if you show up with a bucket of Gus’s fried chicken in tow. Gus’s has mastered takeout service, ensuring the servings are hearty and the set-up is minimal. Whether in a friend’s backyard or on a blanket at the park, Gus’s has you covered. Don’t limit yourself to chicken, either; the mac ‘n cheese and veggies are the perfect accompaniment.
City Block Salumeria
409 South Main, Memphis, TN 38103 • (901) 500-6548
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
City Block Salumeria, the butcher/deli inside of South Main’s Puck Food Hall, creates piled-high sandwiches made for sharing. Whether you pick up the New Orleans-inspired muffaletta, pastrami Reuben, or a simple cold-cut turkey on white, the portions are plentiful and the ingredients are of impeccable quality. If you’re in the mood for charcuterie versus sammies, City Block will do all the work to assemble a delectable board with cured meats and accoutrements, including grainy mustard, pickles and crackers. SB TIP: Ask about their soups of the day and grab a quart to-go.
483 High Point Terrace, Memphis, TN 38122 • (901) 343-0488
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Make it a salad or wrap, and don’t look back — Cheffie’s has you covered. The easy-to-order line has dozens of toppings for custom orders, or a convenient menu of classics and nuanced combinations. Stop by the High Point neighborhood or call ahead to order a mix of temperature-friendly foods for your next picnic.
Happy picnic packing, Memphis!
For the best of the South — straight to your inbox! — subscribe to our newsletter HERE!