I have been waiting for Ben Adams, Wyatt Dickson and Green Button Farm’s Ryan Butler to announce the opening of their new Restaurant, Picnic, with great anticipation. I have hounded them to tell when they would start serving. This past week I received an email inviting me to their soft opening for friends and family. I made sure I could bring Bruce and Linda and we made our plans to meet in Durham.
The atmosphere is lively and casual. The tables are sized nicely and the chairs are comfortable. The enticing smells coming from the kitchen fill the air. We perused through the limited menu and select three appetizers to start. Bruce selected the “Picnic” wings with a spicy pepper jelly glaze. We found the wings to be sweet and tangy, well-seasoned and tasty but for Non-Carolinians did not find the wings to be spicy, but enjoyed them just the same.
The fried green tomatoes were delicious. Linda and I are true connoisseurs of fried green tomatoes and were quite pleased. The sauce; a creamy Cajun dressing was outstanding and we asked for more! Even Bruce, who is not a fan of fried green tomatoes thought they were good. Hats off to the Chef.
I ordered fried oysters. I love oysters and these did not disappoint. They were succulent and well prepared. The Cajun dressing complemented the oysters as it did the tomatoes. I would definitely order them again.
Bruce ordered the Smoked Buttermilk Fried Chicken. I had eaten the fried chicken at a pop up dinner at Green Buttons Farm and knew how good it was. It was moist and tender with a crunchy crust. It was paired with Creamy Mac & Cheese and slaw, made with red cabbage, green onion and a vinegar based dressing.
Linda ordered the Pulled Pork Plate with Brussel sprouts and French Fries thrice cooked. The pork was tender. The Brussel sprouts were excellent. The fries were crisp on the outside and not greasy. I ordered the Pulled Pork Plate with Creamy Mac & Cheese and slaw, made with red cabbage, green onion and a vinegar based dressing.
Linda wanted to try the chocolate Chess Pie so asked for a piece to go. I am sure it tasted as wonderful as it looked.
Our waitress, Christine, was able to keep with the crowd and demands of her customers. For a soft opening, Picnic did well. As with any new restaurant there will be growing pains and I am sure Picnic’s staff and owners are up to the challenge.
As we were enjoying our meal, other customers were lined up outside of the door. Friends and family were excited to try the excellent offerings of Ben and Wyatt. The bar was stacked three deep with patrons. Thursday night, Picnic was the place to be. No doubt under the guidance of Ben and Wyatt; their well-chosen location at 1647 Cole Mill Road, Durham, NC; this will be a nightly occurrence. Congratulations!