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Picnic paradise: A guide to outdoor dining for the urban dweller

Mike Thomas

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That bright, skin-scorching disc that occasionally appears over Columbus skies is back on the “high” setting, which can only mean one thing: summer is in full swing.

Along with all the pool parties and barbeques that the season brings, spreading out the picnic blanket at one of the city’s pristine metro parks is an ideal way to enjoy the great outdoors while getting your grub on.

Though you shouldn’t have too much trouble nding an ideal picnic spot, choosing the best items to load into your basket demands careful consideration. Let’s face it, chicken salad sandwiches and watermelon slices—delicious though they may be—are old hat.

Fear not, persnickety picnic participants: allow us direct you to the best spots in central Ohio to find everything you’ll need for a picnic spread that looks picture perfect.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

Giant Eagle Market District | marketdistrict.com

When it comes to sheer convenience, Giant Eagle Market District can’t be beat. For the uninitiated, a-la-carte items sold by the pound at this upscale grocery’s hot bar run the gamut from Italian favorites to southern staples like fried chicken and potato wedges. Throw in an equally eclectic salad bar and you’re on your way to stress-free picnic bliss.

Weiland’s Market | weilandsmarket.com

The selection of high-quality Buckeye-proud foodstuffs at Weiland’s Market in Clintonville is unparalleled. Whether it’s a hefty helping of bung bologna from Falter’s Fine Meats, or a seasonal selection of the finest fruits and vegetables Ohio has to offer, Weiland’s has the hookup.

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The North Market | northmarket.com

A picnic in the heart of the city can be an international a air thanks to the diverse offerings at Columbus’ best (and only) public market. Grab a charcuterie board and assemble the appetizer plate of the gods at Black Radish Creamery. Compare the finer points of authentic Tibetan momos from Momo Ghar and traditional Polish Pierogis from Hubert’s. Room for dessert? Top your globetrotting picnic experience off in style with French macarons from Pistacia Vera.

Dan the Baker | dan-the-baker.com

No picnic would be complete without a nice, fresh-baked loaf of crusty bread leaning casually out of a wicker basket. Thanks to savory concoctions like an olive and polenta-infused loaf or a croissant stuffed with ham and gruyere cheese, the artisan creations of Columbus’ own Dan the Baker are the perfect picnic accent (or main course). Finish the affair with one of Dan’s Tahitian vanilla bean cream pastries and you’ll wonder why you ever need eat anything but carbs again.

The Hills Market | thehillsmarket.com

Columbus’ own locally-owned downtown grocery has all of the selection of the larger chains, complete with full-service departments to suit any need. Grab ready- to-go meals such as Hill’s famous crab cakes or twice-baked potatoes from the chef’s case, snag a couple of slices of pizza, or have the deli whip you up a sandwich just the way you like it. Whatever you choose, Hills makes crafting the perfect picnic basket as simple as pointing at what you want.

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Food & Drink

Five places to snag a donut today

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Forgetting about Memorial Day isn’t as much a sign of how irrelevant the calendar has become as compared to this following anecdote from a cherished local business. 

When talking to the owner of Buckeye Donuts about its National Donut Day plans, it didn’t dawn on him until a few days ago that he needed to start preparing for the holiday. Now, Buckeye Donuts is more than prepared, assuming a 10 p.m. curfew, which will keep the 24/7 campus spot from operating out of its original pocket.

The following list consists of five places where you can get your donut fix on Friday.

Buckeye Donuts

A local and campus establishment for 51 years, Buckeye Donuts will again be pulling out all the stops; that is, as much as they can. Being a 24-7 establishment, Buckeye Donuts has layers of bakers on deck prepared to do big bakes every eight or so hours with all sorts of varieties and specialities to indulge in.

Duck Donuts

Duck Donuts wants to promote kindness throughout the community this Friday. Whatever way you order, you’ll be treated to a free cinnamon sugar donut, at participating locations.

Amy’s Donuts

No purchase necessary, Amy’s Donuts is offering a free bag of cake donut holes, while supplies last.

Dunkin’ Doughnuts

Stop by any participating Dunkin’ and you’ll be given a free donut with any beverage purchase.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

All week Krispy Kreme has been spreading donut kindness. If you place an order with them today, you'll receive a free donut. The promo started on June 1.

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National Cognac Day: with a Royal Twist

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**SPONSORED**

Happy National Cognac Day! We partnered up with Rémy Cointreau and local bartender, Ben Griest, from Giuseppe’s Ritrovo to present to you... the Royal Sazerac! Ben has shown us a thing or two about making speciality cocktails - today he's making the Royal Sazerac, fit for a King and/or Queen.

The Royal Sazerac is well-known in the cocktail world as America's first cocktail. Also known as New Orleans' official cocktail, Remy Cointreau stands out offering its aromatic richness - making the Royal Sazerac an outstanding premium cocktail.

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Condado Tacos open in select locations after closing its doors Tuesday

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Condado Tacos is open once again after closing its doors to the public Tuesday following an employee walkout Monday night. Polaris and Clintonville locations remain closed until further notice.

Employees at the Polaris location walked out Monday after refusing to fulfill a catering order by the Ohio Highway Patrol, according to a press release from Condado Tacos Wednesday. The employees who walked out were given the opportunity to not work on the order, without repercussion, if they didn’t feel comfortable, according to a statement provided by Linda Powers, Condado Tacos director of marketing.

The order by the Highway Patrol was placed at the Condado Tacos Polaris location on the fifth-straight day of George Floyd protests in Columbus. Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide following an incident where a Minneapolis police officer placed deadly force on Floyd’s neck with his knee. The incident has sparked protests across the country, including Columbus.

After reaching out to Condado’s PR agency over email, the contact stated that their team has “parted ways” with the business. 

Wednesday’s statement by Condado says they “value different points of view,” but, “choosing not to serve a particular group, in this case law enforcement officers, in itself is discrimination and goes against our core values to welcome and serve everyone.”

Read the full statement here.

Read Tuesday evening’s two-part post on Condado’s Facebook page below:

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