Nothing screams “New York City Summer” like a picnic in Washington Square Park. With elusive outdoor dining reservations and over-crowded rooftop bars, sometimes a light lunch or pizza dinner in the park is a laid-back way to sample the best take-out conveniently located near the park. Here are themed recommendations for your next outing. 

An Asian Sampling 

Spicy Moon — Dumplings

Leaning heavily on the trendy, Gen-Z, NYU-esque NYC vibes, this Chinese Szechuan restaurant specializes in small plates and, despite its name, totally accessible dumpling and bao buns. There are two Spicy Moon locations and plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options at both restaurants. For those who like a little spice, the vegetable wontons in chili oil are a perfect, shareable side dish. 

Spicy Moon West Village, 68 W 3rd Street (betw Thompson Street/LaGuardia Place)  

Domodomo — Sushi 

Domodomo was designed with takeout in mind. This Greenwich Village location specifically sells boxed sushi and handroll sets. Each sushi piece is separated, secure for the short walk to Washington Square Park. Additionally, “Sushi Domokase” is an omakase meal on-the-go — complete with 12 pieces of assorted premium sushi, a choice of two handrolls, tuna sashimi, and a miso soup.

Domodomo, 138-140 W Houston Street (betw MacDougal/Sullivan Street)   

Wanpo Tea Shop — Bubble Tea

This effortlessly retro-chic bubble tea shop is just what you expect — but in a good way. It’s reliable. It’s almost a clean feeling. Milk tea aside, there are plenty of rejuvenating iced tea options for take-out, including their grapefruit green tea. Wanpo Tea Shop also has seasonal beverages like Spring 2023’s smoked plum tea. 

Wanpo Tea Shop, 37 E 8th Street (betw University Place/Broadway)  

Go Italian 

Song’ E Napule — Pizza

What separates Song’ E Napule from the dozens of New York pizzerias is the distinctly Neapolitan flavors and aesthetic. With personal pies and fresh ingredients, this is an elevated version of take-out pizza to impress your picnic pals. We recommend the “Bufalina” pie — described on the website as pizza with “Tomato Sauce San Marzano Rega DOP & San Marzano Slow Food Eccellenza Nolane, Buffalo mozzarella from Battipaglia, Parmigiano Reggiano vacche rosse, fresh basil, evoo.”

Song E’ Napule, 132 W Houston Street (betw MacDougal/Sullivan Street)  

La Panineria — Salad

For gourmet on the go, Panineria NYC has salad, sandwich, and even pastas made “with amore.” This Greenwich Village location does Caesar salad differently, adding Italian shaved Parmigiano cheese, homemade crispy croutons, Caesar dressing, and organic smoked turkey to their organic mix greens (iceberg lettuce haters, unite!). 

La Panineria, 9 E 8th Street (betw 5th Ave/University Place)

Whistle & Fizz — Lemonade 

“Sparkling Cold Brew Lemonade” might sound a little strange — or like a refreshing sunny picnic sip. Whistle & Fizz is known for this unique mashup and other trendy coffee and tea options. Their spring 2023 menu even includes a strawberry matcha latte, created with an in-house strawberry puree. 

Whistle & Fizz, 254 Greene Street (betw 8th Street/Waverly Place) 

Light Lunch plus Dessert 

Springbone — Bowls

If Whole Foods was a restaurant, it’d be Springbone. This bone broth spot has several locations throughout Manhattan, boasting no processed foods, refined sugar, or canola oil on its menu. Springbone is another “simple, yet nourishing” food option for New Yorkers, complete with veggie bowls, an herb-roasted salmon bowl, and a cashew kale Caesar salad.

Springbone, 90 West 3rd Street (corner Sullivan Street)  

Kured — Charcuterie

A newbie to the Manhattan restaurant scene, Kured already popped up in Boston, offering patrons a build-your-own charcuterie board experience. Each box is packed with fresh meats, cheeses, olives, and/or crackers. Because the charcuterie is personalized, each picnic-er can select exactly what they want to snack on at the park.

Kured, 218 Thompson Street (betw 3rd/Bleecker Street)  

Levain Bakery — Cookies

A cookie is a compact sweet treat, easy to transport to your picnic or for munching on during the walk home. Levain Bakery is a New York City classic, with a bakery only steps away from Washington Square Park. The two-chip chocolate chip cookie is a fan-favorite, but the NoHo location also boasts a limited edition rocky road cookie and a decadent dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookie.

Levain Bakery, 340 Lafayette Street (corner Bleecker Street) 

Outro NYC — Coffee

A personal favorite, Outro NYC is steps away from the Strand Bookstore. All you want to do is curl up in the back with a good book or chat on the outdoor patio with friends. Coffee to go is a great option, too. Their cold brews topped with matcha or taro are just the right amount of sweetness, although their regular lattes and cappuccinos are equally as satisfying.

Outro NYC, 816 Broadway (betw 11th/12th Street)  

Julia Dzurillay ready to picnic! photo courtesy Julia Dzurillay

photos via Instagram accounts; photo at the top of this post via