This is going to be a big week for events around Boston with both the July 4th Celebration on the Esplanade and Boston Harborfest. If you want to pick up a picnic to enjoy at a summer event, we have some great links. (A tip to our often confused visitors to Boston on July 4th – the Boston Pops concert and fireworks are on the Charles River NOT on the harbor!)
Along the Charles on July 4th, both sides of the river will be filled with fireworks fans. Here are some of the places where you can pick up a meal near an entrance to the Esplanade or close to Memorial Drive on the Cambridge side. You do need food while you stake out your spot for the big show.
Be sure to check the July 4th official site for the latest security restrictions for the Hatch Shell Oval and island areas before you plan your picnic and figure out how to carry it to the concert and fireworks.
Marlboro Market (map & reviews) has a deli counter where they make some of the best sandwich values in the area. Simple, hearty fare made to your specifications by the friendly crew behind the counter. Bonus – you can fill your cooler with soft drinks, chips, and anything else you need here. They even sell the coolers!
Thinking Cup has a new location at 85 Newbury Street, between the Arlington and Dartmouth Street footbridges to the park, and offers a great selection of take-out. They also have locations across from the Boston Common at 165 Tremont Street and in the North End at 236 Hanover Street.
Bacco's Wine and Cheese is on St. James right off Arlington making it the perfect place to pick up a meal for either the Esplanade or The Boston Common. Above is their ready-to-go Bento Box. Each day, they offer a selection of cheese, bread, meat, and condiments in a box. This one was $7.50 and had two cheeses, salami, bread, fig jam, olives, pickles, and caponata.
Next door at Bacco's Fine Foods you can find sandwiches, hot meals, and everything you might want for a day outside enjoying the best of a Boston event.
Cambridge Central Square
This is becoming a true food destination and not just for all the great restaurants located there.
central bottle wine + provisions will be open on the 4th and is great for those who'll be coming to the river from the North. They have a great selection of cheese, salumi, and an ever changing daily food selection.
The new H-Mart in Central Square said they are open every day of the year including July 4th. This makes the Food Court a prime spot for gathering a great picnic to take to the river.
On days other than this holdiay, you can add a great dessert to your basket from flour bakery + cafe next door. (We called and confirmed that flour is closed on the 4th.)
Savenor's Market built its reputation on excellent meat but they have always offered a fine selection of other food. Now, the Cambridge Market has a deli, and they are delivering "Grab & Go" sandwiches to the Charles Street store, so that you can pop in on your way to an event and walk out with everything you want.
There is now some good food right on the Common. You'll find a Clover Food Lab truck stationed by the newly restored Brewer Plaza for long hours each day. There is also The Frog Pond Cafe in-season with some very nice options.
Across from the Common is the Thinking Cup, as we mentioned above. This cafe has built a solid reputation on its outstanding coffee service but it also has great sandwiches and pastry.
Keep these in mind when you plan your Shakespeare on the Common evening this year.
Waterfront & North End
Gathering food in the North End is a regular habit of ours. We love Salumeria Italiana and will often pick up a quick meal from their offerings.
If we want prepared foods, we head for J. Pace & Son where they can fill your cooler with sandwiches, salads, calzones, and other Italian favorites. And, they also have shops in the West End and Seaport.
We love the recent addition of good Mexican food from Tenoch at 3 Lewis Street in the North End. We found it perfect for a picnic in Christopher Columbus Park.
Along the Greenway, there is an ever changing collection of food trucks and carts for meals and snacks. They have a schedule posted here. You can consult our food truck tab to learn more about some of the rolling restaurants.
We've given you a start and told you about the places we go and enjoy. Tell us about your favorite places to enjoy an event or a meal, and where you love to go to pick up your food.
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2012 Penny & Ed Cherubino