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The Art of Picnics and Parking Lot Dining

Caught with takeout and no table in sight? Here's where and how to use a curb, bench, grass, or blanket ... to get your grub on.

Durham’s small businesses continue to need our support, and we’re seeing the community do many things to lend it, including venturing out to restaurants to order take-out meals and exploring all our outdoor dining options.

As some of you already know, (we see you, burrito in hand, cross-legged on the sidewalk!) almost any take-out trip can be turned into an impromptu picnic with friends and family and a little bit of creative forethought.

Here are some tips we’d like you to remember:

Show how much you care!

Some local restaurants still require masks. For those who feel they’re a burden, please remember that wearing face coverings is a way to show how much you care about others, including friends, your servers, and the people you pass by.

Plan a take-out dinner party.

Find a common outdoor space and invite your friends to bring lawn chairs or blankets. (Hot tip: check out the Durham Parks & Recreation website for a comprehensive list of local parks.)

If you’re feeling generous, you can splurge for the takeout. Otherwise, set a theme — like Great American Cookout, Down-home Southern, Taco Tuesday, or Garden Party — and invite friends to bring their own takeout to fit it.

Find a new place to eat each week.

Admit it, you’re getting a little weary of all the home cooking. Use our blog posts to find an outdoor dining spot or a newly-opened restaurant that you haven’t tried before.

Clean up.

This should go without saying, but as more of our activities result in single use materials from takeout, it’s important that they wind up in the right places. Consider bringing your own containers and utensils, and recycle and compost where you can.

Above all else, enjoy.