Today was opening day for The Picnic Basket’s new location in Durham (and Carpe Durham was their very first customer!). They’re the biggest caterer in the Triangle, and their restaurants (this location, next to Thai Cafe and Wine Authorities on University Dr., and one in RTP) don’t stray far from what you’d expect.
Which is not to say that good catering for lunch is a bad thing at all – their sandwiches and salads are fresh, and there’s a lot of variety, with about 10 cold and 10 hot sandwiches. The interior is cute but not overdone, and the lady who seemed to be holding the place together was really nice. I got what amounted to a turkey club with some “baked potato salad” (an amalgam of sour cream, potato, bacon, and sour cream) and some skewered pieces of fruit, which was a nice touch. The lunch combo includes a drink and, like everything on the menu, will run you about $7 to $8. The side salad bodes well for the full salad, but avoid the super-sweet sundried tomato vinaigrette.
They have some above-average baked goods from Sweet Jane‘s (a wholesale bakery in RTP), a full-scale coffee and tea bar, and best of all, Wi-Fi. Once they start serving dinner later this week, they may start attracting the erstwhile Sips crowd. Overall, it’s good catering with wait staff, with lots of fresh salads, sandwiches, wraps, and a number of attractive vegetarian options.
The Picnic Basket (map)
Monday-Friday: 11 am-3 pm (dinner soon)