3 Eateries to Fuel a Picnic Beneath Cherry Blossoms

3 Eateries to Fuel a Picnic Beneath Cherry Blossoms

No matter what’s happening in the world, whether pandemic or war or economic woes, the cherry blossoms continue to burst open each year, painting the Mid-Atlantic landscape in hues of pink and white. What better way to take in the blossoms than sitting near (or under!) some cherry trees, enjoying a picnic? As the weather finally warms and the sun lingers later and later in the evening sky, the time is right to enjoy a blossom buffet – for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here are some cafes just waiting to provide all the fixings for your very own picnic basket.

Breakfast: Chewish Deli, 807 Pendleton St.

While you may not be the only person visiting the Tidal Basin at sunrise, you won’t find the festival crowds nearly as thick if you take in the trees at the crack of dawn. Once you’ve worked up an appetite on your 2-mile walk from Jefferson to, well, Jefferson, swing by the Chewish Deli on your way back into Old Town and fortify yourself for the day ahead. An egg and cheese sandwich or a sunrise Reuben will set you straight – and don’t forget to order a coffee or an espresso to kick the workday off. Running late and back in a physical office? May as well pick up a dozen bagels as a peace offering.

Lunch: Junction Bakery and Bistro, 1508 Mount Vernon Ave.

Sure, Junction has a wealth of breakfast and dinner options, but why not split the difference with some lunch that brings out the best of all meals? From a turkey avocado BLT to a Cuban sandwich, from the Southwest salad to tofu stir-fry, the options are plentiful for nearly any dietary preference – and most of the menu travels well for a lunchtime picnic downtown. Can’t decide on an order? Pick two and get a half-sandwich, half-soup meal. 

Dinner: Ichiban Sushi, 211 King St.

Now, I ask you, what gets more authentic for a cherry blossom picnic than Japanese cuisine? After all, Japan did give the District of Columbia its first cherry trees along the Tidal Basin, and the cultural ties run deep more than a century later. Swing by Ichiban on your way out of town to pick up a sushi combo fit for any occasion. The tekka don combo, the sushi-sashimi combo or even a vegetarian sushi combo will surely bring an extra layer of authenticity to the proceedings – and will be a feast to enjoy, at that.

Hope Nelson is the author of “Classic Restaurants of Alexandria” and owns the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at