Live shows at the Bandshell and second dates at the Botanic Garden are just two of the many reasons that Prospect Park is one of the first places we go to spend our free time in Brooklyn. And now that both have reopened, we’ll probably be spending even more time in the area. Just like we count on this giant parallelogram in the middle of Brooklyn for open fields and nature trails, we also count on a bunch of excellent restaurants nearby where you can pick up food. Whether you just want a snack before running the loop, or you’re organizing a picnic for a bunch of friends, these 18 spots near Prospect Park have you covered.
IF YOU'RE COMING FROM THE EAST SIDE
As the name suggests, jerk chicken is the main reason to go to this Caribbean spot in Flatbush. And while the chicken is fantastic, your experience won’t be complete without at least one festival. They’re like sweet hushpuppies, and at $1.25 each, you can get a couple of them plus the jerk chicken for less than $10.
Errol's Caribbean Bakery
Eating coconut rolls from Errol’s is our favorite sweet-and-flaky pastime. But the expert bakers at this Flatbush spot also serve some excellent jerk chicken. So whether you’re in the mood for plump drumsticks and thighs with smoky skin and succulent meat, or pillowy-soft Caribbean baked goods, keep this counter-service spot on your radar for when you’re looking to pick up an excellent meal in the area.
If you’re looking for a place with a wide variety of options for cocktails to go, check out Edie Jo’s. From watermelon Negronis and peach jalapeño margaritas to mimosa and bloody mary kits, this cocktail bar on Flatbush Ave. has you covered. You can also order things like olives, cheese, hummus, and kimchi pineapple from their takeout menu online so that you’ll have some snacks to intersperse with all the booze.
IF YOU'RE COMING FROM THE WEST SIDE
Winner is a good spot to pick up a latte and a freshly baked sourdough croissant in the morning. But after 11am, the menu turns savory with options like a vegetable bánh mì with portobello mushrooms and Korean fried chicken with gochujang. This cafe and bakery is just two blocks from the park, and no matter when you go, you should prioritize ordering a loaf of whatever bread just came out of the oven. To help you do that, check out the baking schedule on their website.
This tiny Park Slope bagel shop has been baking the same eleven flavors of hot kneaded bread since it first opened in 1985. Our favorite is the everything with cream cheese, which is a textbook example of a golden-brown shell, chewy white center, and crunchy edges that give you a satisfying cracking sound with every bite.
You’re seeing The Decemberists or Spoon at the Prospect Park Bandshell and you want a place to eat a real dinner beforehand. Fonda is a solid Mexican spot on 7th Avenue with shareable dishes like chile rellenos and enchiladas with dark mole. Get a table in the backyard and try any of the eight types of margaritas.
If you’re hungry after your morning hacky sack session or you want to grab something to eat while your dog chases geese in the pond, get a bagel at La Bagel Delight. They serve tons of different bagel-and-spread combos starting at 5:30am, and the big, fluffy bagels are the best in the area.
IF YOU’RE COMING FROM THE SOUTH SIDE
Krupa Grocery is the ideal place to pick up food for a special occasion picnic. Their Prospect Park Picnic Box includes things like a Nashville Hot Shrimp Burger, farro and quinoa salad, and blistered shishitos. And you can even add on a carafe of rosé, just in case you forget to chill the bottle in your cabinet. This neighborhood spot is just South of Macate Circle in Park Slope, and you can order everything ahead of time online.
Before the pandemic, Wheated was a neighborhood gem serving excellent Neapolitan pies, fresh meatball calzones, and whiskey cocktails in Kensington. Now, they’ve pivoted to a takeout-only model. Wheated still serves the same great pies named after Brooklyn neighborhoods like Ditmas Park and Vinegar Hill, plus fresh sourdough baguettes, cookies, and premade whiskey cocktails. Stop by their takeout window before your next picnic in Prospect Park.
The tom yum soup at Thai Farm Kitchen deserves its own Netflix series or should at least be the subject of a thoughtful speech given by someone in a tuxedo. Order a bowl, and get the pad thai with crispy calamari and tamarind-glazed shrimp. In addition to those favorites, you can order everything from a whole steamed fish to half a roast chicken from this exceptional Thai spot just south of Prospect Park. And it’s all available for takeout and delivery.
IF YOU'RE COMING FROM THE NORTH SIDE
The muffuletta sandwich at Lowerline is special - instead of using provolone or Swiss cheese on the sandwich, they put in layers of Parmesan with prosciutto, coppa, and housemade olive salad. So if you’re looking to eat something that’ll make you feel better about living in a city where you enjoy being out in your neighborhood rather than inside your apartment, congratulations - you’ve found it. It’s time to pick up your crusty sesame seed roll filled with prosciutto, salami, parmesan, and olive tapenade, find a good spot in the park next to an affectionate corgi-owner, and enjoy your day.
Whether you rollerbladed the Prospect Park loop or wandered around for 45 minutes trying to find a way out of the park, it’s probably about time for a burger. Head to Dutch Boy in Crown Heights and get a diner-style burger with or without (but definitely with) an egg on top. They also make spiked milkshakes, and it’s connected to Franklin Park, a big indoor/outdoor bar that feels like a party on summer weekends.
Ursula may be a couple of blocks further from the park than some other places on this guide, but you should be happy to cover those blocks in order to get the best breakfast burrito in Brooklyn. They offer chorizo, bacon, vegan, and vegetarian breakfast burritos until noon Wednesday-Sunday, all of which come with either red or green New Mexican chile. If you’re there in the afternoon, pick up a stuffed sopapilla with pork or beef, and no matter what, add a side of chile sauce.
If your ideal park picnic involves plump pork pelmeni, hazelnut-mocha kievsky, and piroshki filled with American breakfast staples like eggs, potatoes, and bacon, head to Dacha 46’s pop-up in Prospect Heights. Their weekend-only “Banya Brunch” pop-up is currently serving a rotating menu of eastern European dishes from the former MeMe’s Diner space on Washington Avenue. They typically save a few orders for walk-ins, but you’re better off preordering ahead of time through their website.
Eating BBQ outside in New York City is a rare and special experience because both BBQ and outdoor space are rare and special things. Morgan’s is a great spot to eat brisket and ribs while getting sunshine and breathing somewhat fresh air at the communal picnic tables on Flatbush. But if you’d rather eat delicious brisket and wasabi wings somewhere far away from souped-up mufflers (and other people), then order takeout.
Most Tex-Mex in NYC isn't anything specail, but Gueros - a counter-service spot in Crown Heights - is an exception. Grab some breakfast tacos on your way to the Botanic Garden a few blocks away and eat them at a table out front.
Hiller & Moon is a small, gourmet grocery store that specializes in high-quality and unusual cured meats and cheeses. And the staff is always happy to help out with recommendations. Grab a couple loaves of bread and some other snacks, and set up your picnic two blocks away in Prospect Park.
Banhmigos is a takeout Vietnamese spot a block from Grand Army Plaza with a huge menu of things you’ll want to eat on a hot day in the park. The cold vermicelli bowls, green salads with various proteins, and the bánh mì sandwiches are all good, and they’re nice picnic alternatives to cold cuts and cheeses.