No one likes boxed lunches or being stuck inside for a ten hour board meeting anymore. Especially in the summer months when we could all use a little fresh air. Take advantage of your lunch breaks and help get the decision-making juices flowing! More and more hotels and restaurants are offering packages suitable for wining and dining clients and business partners al fresco--picnic style. Try out these out-of-the-boxed-lunch ideas!
New York City
For a picnic in Central Park, guests at the Mark Hotel in New York can grab to-go lunches created by famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten to carry or to take via the hotel's custom bikes, which feature details such as monogrammed bells and come with signature black helmets and baskets. The a la carte menu includes steamed shrimp salad, grilled organic chicken sandwich, and a cookie plate, with items ranging in price from $7 to $37. The gourmet basket contains all the picnic essentials as well, including a blanket, cutlery, and condiments, along with an illustrated bike map curated by the chef concierge.
Whether board members are looking to relax on the grounds or take a trip to one of Los Angeles' beaches, Hotel Bel-Air offers its signature picnic, complete with blanket, pillows, and table trays. The menu includes a la carte options such as grilled cheese, assorted charcuterie and salami, tuna tartare, house-made soft pretzels, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Approximate pricing for a three-course meal starts at $60 per person, with a set-up fee of $75 for each picnic. The picnics are set for two, but guests may contact the hotel for larger party requests.
As part of its "Bike with a Manager or Chef" package, Kimpton's the Grand Hotel Minneapolis allows guests to tour the city with a true local. The five-mile guided bike ride, which takes place every Sunday morning at 8 a.m., ends with a picnic brunch at Stone Arch Bridge prepared by chef Kris Koch of the hotel's SIX15 Room. Bikes and helmets are provided. Cost is $20 per person, with a maximum of five guests.
For those groups who want to experience a taste of outdoor dining minus the al fresco part, the historic Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Delaware, offers a "Picnic on the Green" lunch special until September 5. Guests as well as the general public can enjoy a three-course pre-fixe lunch menu of classic American fare, including lobster rolls with malt vinegar chips, fried chicken and waffles, and key lime cake, inside the hotel's Green Room restaurant. Cost is $22 per person, not including gratuity.
At the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro in Boston, guests can order up a rustic basket with a blanket for dining at the nearby Public Garden or Boston Common. The a la carte menu includes upscale picnic grub such as a roast chicken B.L.T., baked croque-madame, and Connecticut-style crab roll, with prices ranging from $12 to $20. The baskets can serve two to 30 guests. Lunch is available Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Guests need to call one hour ahead to place their order. For parties larger than 10, the Bistro requires 24-hour notice.
Get out of the boardroom and kick the boxed lunches to the curb! Treat your clients to a delicious lunch bound to get them ready to devour the details of the rest of the day. Bon appetit!