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Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Take the Kids: Plan your next picnic at the NC Museum of Art with ACR at the Park

Posted October 15, 2020 9:00 p.m. EDT
Updated October 16, 2020 7:57 a.m. EDT

ACR at the Park at the N.C. Museum of Art

— The popularity of picnics has picked up during the pandemic. At a time when many are steering clear of eating out at restaurants, picnics offer a chance to enjoy a meal in a place that's not your house.

And as temperatures cool down, picnics might be even more popular around here. You can not only get out of the house for lunch or dinner, but also not broil under the heat of the sun.

Back in August, the N.C. Museum of Art and Ashley Christensen Restaurants teamed up to make picnicking a little easier. The museum in west Raleigh offers the spot to lay out your blanket, somewhere on its sprawling Museum Park, and Christensen brings the food.

ACR at the Park is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays. You can pre-order your food online or walk up to the takeout window and place your order. The window is on the south side of the East building, facing the museum park and not far from the amphitheater.

The menu is long, offering up options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts and drinks, including an espresso bar.

For picky young eaters, there are options, including a kid's snack box with cheese, turkey breast, crackers and grapes, and a kid's jam sandwich with nut butter. And you can never go wrong with the pecan blondie or chocolate chip cookies.

Avocado toast at ACR at the Park

We've really enjoyed the avocado and pesto butter on grilled bread from Boulted Bread, the cold fried chicken and the country ham sandwich, which comes with ham, mozzarella, housemade apple butter and spinach.

Prices are reasonable and what you would expect from a nicer breakfast or sandwich spot, especially one run by Christensen, who also owns Poole's Diner, Poole'side Pies and Beasley's in downtown Raleigh, along with a dinner kit and grocery take-out service called ClubHouse.

The avocado toast is $10. Smoothies are $8. Sandwiches and salads run between about $6 and $12.

And the options for kids are $6 for the nut butter and jam sandwich and $8 for the snack box.

In my experience, some items can sell out. So it's best to place your order ahead of time so you can get your first choices.

The cafe is rolling out some seasonal treats, include an apple cornmeal muffin and cinnamon panna cotta.

To plan your picnic at the museum park, head over to ACR at the Park's online menu to place your order and get your picnic blanket ready.

You can enjoy your spread on the open spaces near the amphitheater or go a bit farther afield to another spot in the park, which spans 164 acres.

The N.C. Museum of Art also is now open to visitors, but at a limited capacity. Visitors must have free timed tickets to allow social distancing and wear face masks while inside the museum. The museum is at 2110 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh.