On the beach - that's where great al fresco dining adventures often begin. Pop open a shade umbrella, snap out a blanket and gather your sun-kissed brood 'round the picnic basket. No need to get all fancy - simplicity is your best friend when it comes to picnic planning. Forget cooking, too. You can grab tasty, freshly prepared choices at a number of local eateries.
Here's a list of picnic darlings, along with suggestions for where to find them along the Grand Strand. Pick your favorites and mix and match, but don't forget to keep cold foods cold and eat hot foods ASAP.
Just one more thing: Do dine with your back to the wind or you'll get a side of sand with your sandwich.
Salads and Such
Bay Naturals Healthy Market, Myrtle Beach Get a taste of summer nirvana with cucumber quinoa salad, red bliss potato salad, beet slaw with carrots, green apples and pecans and more from one of Myrtle Beach's favorite hubs for healthy eating. There are lots of vegan and vegetarian options here, and dressings are house-made, too.
Kindbelly, Myrtle Beach You'll find tasty, good-for-you salads to perk up your picnic basket. Dig your fork into a mound of deliciously dressed micro greens with goodies such as pine nuts, apples, chick peas and avocado, or get your salad bundled up in a wrap for neat beach eating.
Fast Greek Cafe, Myrtle Beach You can't go wrong when you go Greek! Head to this locally owned Mediterranean deli for awesome picnic fare like quinoa and tabbouleh salad - both of which stand up nicely in warmer temps. Finger foods like dolmades, falafel, and grilled chicken skewers are great accompaniments.
Sarabella's Italian Deli, North Myrtle Beach Find this jewel on Main Street in the shag capital of North Myrtle Beach. Inside, you'll find plenty of fresh, grab-n-go options like pasta salad, fruit salad, and green veggie salads. Italian sandwiches for bigger appetites are yours for the asking, too.
Lee's Farmer's Market, Murrells Inlet Head here for a variety of imported dry salamis and an impressive array of cheeses - more than 200 types. Don't forget the bread and olives.
Toffino's, Myrtle Beach This is a great choice for Genoa salami, soppressata, provolone, antipasta and more. For dessert, bag a dozen or so Italian almond cookies from the bakery case.
Quagliata Brothers, Myrtle Beach Wrap up your favorite deli meats and cheeses, which are sliced to order. For a heartier picnic, tuck them into one of the brothers' fabulous sandwiches!
Shrimp and Dip
Get Carried Away, Pawleys Island With advance notice, Get Carried Away will prepare a Lowcountry Boil Bucket - a local traditional dish featuring spiced shrimp, sausage, potatoes and onions - for your picnic pleasure. Orders must be placed at least 24 hours in advance and pick-up isn't until 5 p.m. Plan to get yours the day prior to the picnic and refrigerate overnight, or enjoy an early beach supper. For an appetizer, try one of their decadent dips or place an order for their famous Palmetto Cheese pimento cheese spread to slather on crackers.
Eugene Platt's Seafood, Cherry Grove At Eugene Platt's, spiced, steamed shrimp is the way to go, picnic-wise. Decide how much you need and the steaming's free. If you want to do some beach fishing, you can stock up on supplies here, too.
Bimini's Oyster Bar, Myrtle Beach Cool shrimp salad is a hot item at this popular restaurant, bar and seafood market. On the market side, the steamed peel-n-eat shrimp are the perfect finger food for al fresco dining on the sand.
Bar-B-Que House, North Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach Have the folks at Bar-B-Que House pack you up a rack of meaty ribs and a side of crispy slaw for a lip-smacking picnic.
True BBQ, in Myrtle Beach This smokehouse barbecue joint turned out some of the tastiest ribs around. Baked beans make a fitting accompaniment. Don't forget extra napkins!
Moe's, Pawleys Island If you're picnicking with a crew, each offers family-size meals-to-go. Save yourself some trouble and ask to have your ribs pre-cut. Don't forget extra sauce and a gallon or two of sweet tea to wash it all down.
Dagwood's Deli, Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach This locally beloved deli has been filling bellies for more than 25 years in Myrtle Beach and more recently in Surfside. They know their stuff - as in, how to stuff a sandwich. The two-fisted subs and sammies feature house-made sub rolls, too. Note: Get giant subs cut into fourths for a more user-friendly picnic experience.
Manny's, Myrtle Beach Fans of New York-style pastrami and corned beef sandwiches will be giddy with the offerings at this deli. Add potato salad and pickles to round out your picnic.
Kaminsky's Deli, Myrtle Beach Another deli with Northern flair, Kaminsky's is a long-time favorite of the picnic crowd. Get everything from pastrami to salami to chicken salad.
Chicken, Fried and Otherwise
Boulineau's IGA, Cherry Grove Beach This hometown grocery store is known for its magic touch with chicken, which is hand-battered and just-right crunchy. Look for the large lighthouse façade on the front.
Big Mike's, Myrtle Beach The Grand Strand's favorite soul food operation is also your headquarters for hearty picnic grub. In fact, Big Mike's offers a dedicated picnic menu priced per person - great for family picnics! While chicken is an entree option, there's also pork chops, hamburgers, hot dogs and more. Paper products, ice, cups and plastic ware included.