More than a year in the making, Picnic on Third opens today just around the corner from South Park in SoMa. The new culinary cafe hopes to split the difference between a quick service cafe lunch and dining out at the neighborhood's pricey power lunch spots.
Chef-partners Natalia Bushyager and Leigh Loper both come from gourmet background: Bushyager got her start in kitchens across the bay at Chez Panisse and Camino, and Loper comes from Quince and Josey Baker Bread. The two of them met while working the line at Foreign Cinema, but Picnic on Third aims to be a more casual weekday destination for neighborhood workers looking for a sit-down meal or a grab-and-go lunch option.
The new space at Third and Bryant was designed by Oakland's Larson Shores and offers 35 seats and counter stools around a homey, modern communal table. The menu covers the entire day as well: Espresso by Oakland's Contraband Coffee, pour-over from Chicago's HalfWit Roasters and iced coffee on tap from Flux pair with pastries by Sandbox, Heartbaker and Little Bee.
By lunch Picnic will hit their stride with inspired "chef's compositions" like crispy confit duck leg, achiote pork shoulder, pomegranate braised lamb shoulder and whole roasted chickens. A la carte items include braised pork, pinto bean stew or fingerling potato salad, but the menu changes daily to keep up with the seasons and the fickle moods of the working class. There's also a full wine and beer list focusing on California growers and craft brewers. Wine and bottled beers are available in-store or to-go. (Upcoming menus are posted here.)
To start, Picnic on Third is open weekdays, Monday-Friday. Coffee is served all day starting at 7am and lunch is served daily from 11am-7pm.