Where to pick up to-go food around Denver for a summer picnic in the park

A basket from Denver Central Market comes with chips, dips, spreads, breads, charcuterie and more from the market’s vendors ($85). (Provided by Denver Central Market)

Heading into a strange holiday weekend, we’re looking for ways to gather and eat, even if on a much smaller and socially distanced scale. So here are some of the foods we’ve been craving for outdoor picnics and parties of just a few people. From crawfish boils to farmers market finds, barbecue to street tacos, we’ve got 12 to-go options to really jumpstart the season.

Charcuterie

Denver Central Market, RiNo, denvercentralmarket.com

A new seasonal picnic box ($85) features foods from many of the hall’s vendors — find charcuterie, crackers and spreads, chips and dip, bread and cookies, fresh fruit, ice cream, kombucha and wine or beer (for an extra $20).

Crawfish

Cattivella, Stapleton, 303-645-3779

On Saturday, chef Elise Wiggins is preparing a family-style, take-home crawfish boil from her wood-fired Italian restaurant. $125 will buy you 10 pounds of boiled crawfish, corn, potatoes, Andouille sausage and pralines. You can also order pre-batched hurricane cocktails and sazeracs. The meal feeds four people.

A spread of plates at Postino, which now has two Denver restaurant locations. (Becca Wright, Provided by Postino)

Bruschetta and wine

Postino, LoHi and Broadway, postinowinecafe.com

Pair a mixed bruschetta board with your choice of four toppings (from about a dozen options for $15.75) with one of around 30 bottled wines (all for $15). For $30, you can’t beat the selection.

Tapas

Ultreia, Union Station, ultreiadenver.com

A Spanish picnic basket costs $40 (or $50 with a bottle of wine) from Ultreia. You’ll get all the fixings for a tapas spread of pan con tomate, marinated olives, Marcona almonds, jamon serrano and manchego cheese, as well as a fresh salad and olive oil and sea salt chocolate chip cookies.

A quiche and fresh cherries from the South Pearl Street Farmers Market. (Beth Rankin, The Denver Post)

Farm-fresh goods

South Pearl Farmers Market, Old South Pearl Street, southpearlstreet.com/farmers-market

In addition to picnic staples such as produce and cheeses, you’ll find prepared foods to-go, like sandwiches and pastries, as well as local wines and more beverages to take with you. The market, which runs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. every Sunday, is limiting the number of people who can shop at one time, so you may need to wait in line if you visit during peak hours. Shoppers must wear a mask and are asked to bag their own purchases.

Oysters ready to be shucked outside Stoic and Genuine at Union Station. (Beth Rankin, The Denver Post)

Oysters

Stoic & Genuine, Union Station, stoicandgenuine.com

Find Chesapeake Bay oysters for sale outside Union Station for $2.50 apiece, every day starting at noon until they sell out (which is as quick as 20 minutes on weekends). The team at Stoic & Genuine will shuck them for you, and you can sit at a nearby bench or table slurping to your heart’s desire.

Banh mi

Vinh Xuong Bakery, Federal Boulevard, Alameda Avenue and Zeppelin Station, facebook.com/vinhxuongbakery

Go for the combination sandwich at either location of this family-run Vietnamese bakery. It’s packed with paté, barbecue, ham and pork head cheese, plus pickled carrots and daikon radish, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeño and mayonnaise ($4-$9.50).

Tacos

La Calle, Alameda Avenue, lacalletaqueria.com

Choose from al pastor, asada, carnitas, suadero and more for your selection of tacos ($2.25 each), which come with various toppings from a full salsa bar and drinks like horchata and agua fresca.

Tacos and wings from the new Spice Trade Brewery and Kitchen in Greenwood Village. (Josie Sexton, The Denver Post)

International street food and beer

Spice Trade Brewing and Kitchen, Greenwood Village, spicetradebrewing.com

Thai chicken wings, green curry and Korean barbecue tacos are some of the brand new menu items from just-opened Spice Trade. Order a trio of snacks to pair with house beers (which started under the familiar Yak & Yeti Brewpub but have since rebranded).

Tinned seafood snacks

Cart-Driver, RiNo and Highland, cart-driver.com

A new selection of antipasti to-go is the way to go at this cult-favorite pizza spot. Try seafood conserva (market price), chicken liver mousse with focaccia ($10) and a chopped salad ($10), or order the mixed snack platter for $24. Add on batched cocktails (two for $16) or even a clam pizza for $19.

Outside Union Station, where multiple restaurants have opened walk-up ordering counters and an impromptu picnic is possible. (Beth Rankin, The Denver Post)

Fancy bento

The Wolf’s Tailor, Sunnyside, exploretock.com/wolfstailor/

A bento box from The Wolf’s Tailor with pickles, nigiri, tomato salad, scallop tataki and mushroom salad. (Josie Sexton, The Denver Post)

This northside restaurant is actually offering a tasting menu with seven to 10 bites or courses for $45 during the pandemic, so you can really turn heads at a picnic. But trust us: chicken liver mousse nigiri, scallop tataki, maitake mushroom salad and more elevated tastes are worth a try, even in to-go boxes.

Barbecue

Barbosa’s Barbeque, mobile trailer, barbosasbarbeque.com

Check the website for locations, but find pitmaster Alejandro Barbosa at Banded Oak Brewing the next two weekends selling brisket, pork shoulder and ribs and turkey breast (all by the pound), and sides like charro beans, Creole smashed potato salad and pickled onion slaw ($4-15, various sizes) for takeaway.

Subscribe to our new food newsletter, Stuffed, to get Denver food and drink news sent straight to your inbox.