There's something to be said about eating your food outside. When the weather’s perfect and the company is great, the food just tastes better.
In Pennsylvania, we need to take advantage of ideal weather conditions as much as possible. Instead of booking your next event inside a restaurant or hotel this summer, think about having a good old-fashioned picnic. With these four local catering companies, you’ll be in good hands.
A Long Time Comin’
Gina Schubert and her husband opened Maggio’s in Southampton 40 years ago. During that time, they offered off-premise catering that included barbecue options, but it never really took off. So 20 years ago, they created a separate catering arm called Moose & Goose Picnic Catering with a focus solely on picnics. At the time, they were one of the only catering companies dedicated to barbecues.
“We offered amazing barbecue at the restaurant, but we weren’t doing many corporate or social barbecues and wanted to get into that market,” says Schubert. “At the time there were very few, if any, barbecue catering companies. Today, there are what seems like a million of them.”
The company offers three separate levels of service for its catering. It can either prepare the food at its headquarters and drop off at a venue (the team will set up buffet stands and heating units); prepare at its kitchen and drop off with servers; or provide full service, which includes chefs, servers and grilling equipment (food is then prepared at the client’s location).
Favorite dishes include the pulled pork with homemade barbecue and mop sauce, baby back ribs, chicken quarters, Jersey corn, and mac ‘n’ cheese.
If you prefer to eat your picnic inside, you can head to Maggio’s, where you can enjoy all of the fixings under one roof in their restaurant. The 3,400-square-foot ballroom can hold 240 with a dance floor and 300 without; it has dividing walls so that three events can take place at once.
Moose & Goose Picnic Catering’s longevity, creativity with food and service sets the company apart from the competition.
“Our staff has been with us for years and offer impeccable service,” says Schubert.
A Perfect Picnic Party
At Purple Picnic People, no event is too small or too big. The West Chester-based catering company that focuses specifically on picnics and outdoor events once catered a bank’s grand opening for 15,000 people.
“Our staff can handle whatever our clients request,” says Kevin Bruton, president. “We are equipped to take the party almost anywhere.”
And if you’re looking for a little something extra, Purple Picnic People offers hot dog carts, popcorn carts and cotton candy, so your inner kid can really kick back and have a good time.
“Picnics are a great option for many types of events,” says Bruton. “People love to eat foods that are grilled right in front of them. It just tastes better.”
Back to the Basics
R&R Caterers specializes in some of the most common forms of outdoor dining: barbecue and buffets. They keep it simple with your standard favorites such as chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs. And don’t forget the coleslaw, potato salad and baked beans— they’ve got those, too.
Customers can add on entrées such as sausage and meatballs or chicken Parmesan for an extra cost. R&R Caterers has a mandatory minimum of 50 guests. Typically, catered events take place in someone’s backyard or home, but owner Richard Toth has also catered corporate picnic functions.
Toth, who has worked in catering for 38 years, emphasizes the simplicity and relaxed vibe of the events that he caters. Instead of a specific sit-down meal time, the food is cooking during a two- to three-hour time period so people can graze whenever they want.
“We’re more of a relaxed type of atmosphere versus a buffet,” says Toth. “It’s not as formal.”
A Family Tradition
As a child, Tracey Deschaine would travel to the South to visit her relatives. Every trip would end with a picnic where everyone brought their own offering, each one trying to outdo the other. The culmination was a delicious meal. These picnics left a lasting impression. Upon growing up, she realized there wasn’t a market for this type of food, so she decided to create one herself. Thus, Dixie Picnic was born.
“A picnic is a great use of time for many occasions,” says Deschaine. “The occasion and the company can differ in as many ways as one can imagine, but the concept of spending time with good company and great food without the interference of electronics or other day-to-day distractions is very dear to my heart.”
Dixie Picnic specializes in boxed lunches. Each includes a sandwich, side salad, deviled egg and their signature item, an upcake—a cupcake turned upside down and iced on the tops and sides. Deschaine plays around with old family recipes, recreating the memories she had as a child for her clients. Sandwich options include a Thanksgiving choice with turkey breast, stuffing and cranberry sauce; their famous Nutty Chicken Salad; a veggie option; and plenty of others. They can cater events of up to 1,000 people.
You can also visit Dixie Picnic at their two brickand-mortar locations—one in Malvern and another in Philly, but if you really want a feel for the company, it’s best to take your meal outside just like Deschaine did when she was young.
“I personally love picnics because they are casual, often spontaneous and bring out that, ‘Oh, it’s a special day,’ feeling,” she says. “It takes us out of the mundane routine and puts a little bit of sunshine into any day.”
With the outdoors, venue options abound, but we’ve got you covered for a head start on where to look for your next picnic.
Big Pocono State Park
Big Spring State Forest
Brandywine Picnic Park
Burnt House Picnic Area
Croatian Center Picnic Grounds
Grotto Picnic Park
Peace Valley Park
New Britain Township
Prouty Place State Park
Washington Park Main Pavilion