It’s the summer of the picnic here in St. John’s! As social distancing measures continue, the picnic has become more popular than ever, and for the small size of this city, St. John’s has an abundance of green parks and ocean views to enjoy a picnic, along with great restaurants offering takeout options to BYOP — build your own picnic! Asian noodle salads, huge sandwiches, fresh salads and homemade sodas abound across the city.
Here are five great eateries to BYOP:
Amidst the subtle chaos of Rawlings’ Cross, the Hungry Heart offers a variety of takeout options from breakfast sandwiches to burritos. The udon noodle salad with miso sesame dressing and seaweed is just one of the delicious salads to pair with sandwiches like the smoked salmon sandwich on a Georgetown bagel or the curry chicken wrap sweetened with sultanas. This cafe is the perfect place to grab lunch before heading to a picnic in Bannerman Park; it’s just a five-minute walk away!
Located off the lobby of the Luxus Boutique Hotel on Water Street, this downtown cafe offers up a selection of affordable sandwiches, soups and salads like the chicken basil pesto panini or chickpea salad with tomato and cucumber. There is a large variety of espresso drinks on offer — they do their own rendition of a London Fog and make their own Italian soda syrups like Lime Basil Rhubarb. After you grab your picnic head to Harbourside Park to enjoy views of the ocean and Signal Hill — it’s just across the street from the Luxus Cafe.
The aptly-named Waterwest Kitchen can be found in the west end of Downtown and offers up an array of deli options like pates and Quebec cheeses in addition to fresh-made salads, housemade pasta, baked goods and coffee. Their takeout sandwiches change regularly but options like the super cheesy, super saucy meatball sub and the gabagool with capicola are served hot and made to order. Waterwest is the perfect stopping place on your way to a Bowring Park picnic, just a short drive away.
Chinched’s devotion to local produce and nose-to-tail dining is just as evident in their deli case as it is in their restaurant. Located downtown on Bates Hill, the deli has tons of picnic options including charcuterie picnic platters and crispy pigs ears (one of their signature dishes) along with takeout sandwiches like the house-made bologna sandwich with Five Brother’s cheese, lettuce and potato chips for extra crunch on two big slabs of toasted white bread. It pairs perfectly with “Dave Mundy’s Salad Greens” with strawberries, pickled rhubarb and goat cheese.
Situated inside the ALT Hotel St. John’s, Terre Cafe is anything but your typical hotel lobby cafe. In addition to their selection of hot and cold espresso drinks, Terre serves up homemade sweets and loaves of bread for their sandwiches like Andrew’s Muffuletta or the “Cubano” on housemade bread with roast pork, ham, pickles and potato chips. You can take your picnic to go or enjoy the view from their picnic tables looking out at Signal Hill and the harbour.
Gabby Peyton is a food writer, restaurant critic and culinary historian based in St. John’s NL.
Researching food has become a lifestyle for Gabby. After completing an MA in Art History at the University of Toronto in 2012, she moved to Halifax, NS and ate her way through the city, documenting it on thefoodgirlintown.com a blog devoted to (mis)adventures in travelling to eat. She completed a Bachelor of Journalism at the University of King’s College in 2015 and has worked in a variety of editorial roles in Toronto, ON and St. John’s, NL. Now she dines out constantly in St. John’s — Gabby is the city’s restaurant critic for The Telegram and her other bylines include CBC, Atlantic Business Magazine, USA Today, and Eater. Her series on Food Bloggers of Canada‘s website explores the history of iconic Canadian foods and she is passionate about community cookbooks.
A long-time sufferer of persistent wanderlust, Gabby is always planning the next big trip. She has visited more than 15 countries, spent three seasons working on an archaeological dig in central Turkey and surfed on the Gold Coast of Australia. She is passionate about architecture, spaghetti carbonara and Newfoundland food.
Published: August 13, 2020