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Posted at 4:17 PM ET, 06/30/2009

Pick Up a Picnic for the Fourth

By Julia Beizer

Okay, so the picnics I wrote about probably won't come in such an adorable basket. But hey, good takeout doesn't require fancy presentation. (Julia Ewan - The Washington Post)

The Fourth of July is a holiday made for picnics. If you plan on taking advantage of the day off on Friday and packing up your own, the Food section's got you covered with a slew of fried chicken and portable dessert recipes. But if you're feeling a little lazy before trekking off to the National Mall's fireworks display, the following nearby restaurants can hook you up with grub, to-go.

It seems pretty un-American to celebrate our country's independence at a French restaurant, but of many downtown restaurants, Cafe du Parc's offerings sound the most intriguing. From 5 to 9 p.m., the restaurant will serve a holiday-appropriate, to-go menu of grilled chicken, hamburgers, pork ribs and french fries from a grill on its patio. Crepes will be available as well. Prices range from $8 to $15. Diners with a little more time on their hands can reserve a table on the outdoor terrace and listen to the sounds of Jumpin' Jupiter.

Good Stuff Eatery is going the all-American route, serving its usual burgers, fries and milkshakes. The restaurant is planning to set up a shorter to-go line that offers a lunch bag with a burger, fries and a soft drink. You can't get a milkshake if you opt for the quicker line, but this is a good option for those coming in from the East.

Asia Nine is barbecueing, Asian-style. Picnickers can order a to-go box of either Thai BBQ Chicken or Laos Grilled Steak. The meal costs $20 and comes with a choice of two sides like papaya salad or bacon cheese fries. The restaurant will also offer specialty Independence Day-themed sushi rolls for $14 a piece.

Potenza just celebrated the opening of its 60-seat patio this week, and manager Tim Masterjohn says that diners who can snag a table out on 15th street can expect a glimpse of the fireworks once they get going. (Outdoor tables are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.) For those who want carryout, the restaurant's bakery will be open until 8 p.m. selling paninis, sandwiches, pastries and gelato.

Some of our favorite nearby cheap-eats chains will also be open that day, providing takeout for the crowds. Grab some fiery chicken at Nando's, a salad at Chop't or one of CalTort's massive burritos. On the Fly will also set up eight food carts around the Mall, near the Hirshhorn, American History Museum, Natural History Museum, American Indian Museum and Smithsonian Castle.

-- Julia

By Julia Beizer  | June 30, 2009; 4:17 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  
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