Picnic Pit Stop – Ideas for Outdoor Entertaining from the Loveless

Picnic Pit Stop ~ Cute picnic ideas and recipes for outdoor entertaining

As Featured in the June issue of Social Magazine

Sunshine and warm weather has finally arrived and days suddenly seem meant to be spent entirely outdoors. Treadmills are abandoned for a jog around the neighborhood, car windows are rolled down in lieu of cranking up the air, and indoor dining seems a thing of the past as patios, picnic tables and blankets in the grass become the desired setting for enjoying meals.

The Loveless Cafe has been a traveler’s destination and road trip pit stop since 1951, and we know a thing or two about food on-the-go. Not only do we serve up the best take-out barbeque in town, but we’ve come up with some delicious recipes and presentation suggestions that are perfect for your next road trip or picnic in the park.

When enjoying a meal outdoors or in the car, the idea is to pick foods that travel well and can be eaten with just a fork, or better yet, by hand. Whenever possible, prep everything at home before you leave (no one wants to end up chopping fruit and vegetables in a moving vehicle or outdoors). Also, make sure your menu includes ingredients that will hold up outside of refrigeration and withstand warmer weather.

Instead of delicate lettuce as the base for salads, opt for vegetables or grains, like quinoa. A hearty baguette will fare better than flimsy sliced store-bought bread for your sandwiches. And utilizing mason jars, parchment paper, skewers and durable food storage containers will make packing for your picnic, and the cleanup afterward a breeze. So forget the gas station grub and flavorless bags of junk food. Here are some dishes that are simple and scrumptious.



Deviled Ham Sandwiches

Baguettes are sturdy enough to withstand a few hours in the car without becoming soggy or dried out. If made with our signature Country Ham that’s cured to be outside of refrigeration for up to 90 days (although, let’s hope you’re not packing that far in advance) the salty flavor will add quite a kick to the recipe. Add a spread of spicy mustard, mayonnaise, Swiss cheese and a handful of arugula and you’ve got a sandwich everyone will enjoy!



Easy Summer Gazpacho


Gazpacho is ideal for picnics, as it’s best served cold and packs easily in a cooler (we like to use mason jars since they’re portable and seal tight). This fresh and vibrant summer soup includes all the best flavors of summer and can be eaten with a spoon or sipped straight from the jar!





Strawberry Mint Sweet Tea


It wouldn’t be a picnic in the South without some good old-fashioned sweet tea. Take your tried and true recipe up a notch by adding seasonal strawberries and fresh mint. Sweeten with strawberry syrup instead of sugar and you’ve transformed your beverage into a delicious and memorable treat!





Loveless Pie Pops


Kid-friendly, picnic-friendly and oh-so-cute, these all around easy-to-eat pie pops are the perfect dessert for traveling. They couldn’t be simpler to make, especially if you used store-bought dough. Filled our famous, homemade preserves (we can never choose a favorite so we just used all 3), we know this is a dessert you’re definitely going to want to make for the family!




Pack-and-Go Fruit Skewers


Fruit is always a great, healthy snack to have on hand during a road trip or a casual outdoor meal. Instead of serving fruit in a bowl to be picked out by hand, try using skewers for a less-messy approach. Add chunks of cheese to a few and large marshmallows to others to add some variety and help keep everything in its place. Also, by customizing the skewers to each individual you can avoid the unappetizing “pick-through-the-bowl-to-find-what-you-want” game. A win for everyone!

*Here are the ingredients for our fruit skewers:

Fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch chunks
Small strawberries
Fresh honeydew melon, cut into 1-inch chunks
Fresh cantaloupe, cut into 1-inch chunks
Red and/or green grapes (not pictured)
Fresh mango, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 block Gouda, Cheddar or other cheese of choice cut into 1-inch cubes (for savory skewers)
Large marshmallows (for sweet skewers)


Other snack ideas for on-the-go noshing:


Piggy Popcorn





Piggy Pecans




Spicy Loveless Sausage and Cheese Balls






Bacon Pralines






Chicken N’ Honey Sandwiches