Do what I do long enough and you learn to pay close attention to the calendar. It makes zero sense to write about a holiday cookbook in May, right? No one wants to share St. Patrick’s Day corned beef recipes in August. The same goes for doing any kind of real Eating and Liking outdoors in the South. It’s generally not up for discussion until after Labor Day around here.Believe it or not, one young lady in town enjoys eating outdoors year round so much, she’s put together a pretty successful business dedicated to it.
“I love picnics.” she says. “I’ve always loved eating outside.”
Chelsea Rowe is owner/operator of The Savannah Picnic Company. She bills herself as “Savannah’s Only Full-Service Luxury Picnic Experience” and for good reason. She happens to be Savannah’s only full-service luxury picnic experience. Simple enough, right?
She’d been chewing on the idea for a few years before she actually took the plunge. “We love eating outdoors with the kids.” Chelsea says of her own family “I couldn’t find anyone to set up a picnic.” That was almost 5 years ago. Now, she’s pretty busy year-round. Especially during the busier tourist months. She says right now her clientele is about 70 percent tourists. “We thought this could succeed here because of we have so many green spaces.”
Or how about the beach? Hard to argue with any of that.
The concept, actually, is pretty simple. You come up with your plans for a wonderful afternoon in an outdoor location of your choice and make the call. You discuss what and where you’d like to eat and Chelsea takes care of the rest.
“We had a couple come to Savannah for a ‘Baby Moon'” she says “She wanted Watermelon everything. So we did frozen watermelon, lime marinated watermelon and some other things for her.” I guess that takes care of the ‘special requests’ menu now, doesn’t it?
That was a special request, but the average picnic is far more mainstream. You can do a fried chicken picnic or a cheese and charcuterie set up. Maybe just desserts. You can have a large group in Forsyth Park or an intimate setting in one of Savannah’s picturesque squares. Chelsea offers a ‘Pop the Question’ package that makes it easy for everyone. It even includes a photographer to capture the moment, I assume from the bushes nearby.
The picnic layouts are gorgeous. There are no paper plates and plastic forks. The dishes, silverware and glassware are all real. Which makes for a beautiful setting. She puts out high quality blankets, sometimes throw pillows and flowers. This is serious business. As a result, its not inexpensive. At the same time, however, it is anything but cheap.
“I want it to be fun, but elegant” Chelsea tells me.
The average picnic gets 2 and a half hours to enjoy everything she sets up. Once you are done at a pre-determined time, Chelsea and her staff arrive, scoop up everything she put out and you walk away. Nothing to carry back to your car except whatever you may have brought with you. “We do get people who call us and ask if they can extend their time.”
She also gets people calling asking her for the closest location to buy more wine. I can imagine if you are out in the park having a wonderful afternoon, you may run out of your favorite beverage. It’s worth mentioning that Chelsea cannot sell alcohol to her guests. That’s a BYOB situation. Which, ultimately saves you a little bit of money. As we mentioned, she will provide glassware to enjoy it with.
Chelsea tells me the entire idea is catching on. “It’s an amazing Savannah experience” she says. The recommendations are becoming more and more frequent from the Bed and Breakfast Inns all over downtown Savannah. A perfect fit clientele for the service she offers. It hass gone so well that she is even offer dockside box-lunch delivery to the boaters in the area. “Anything you want to take out on the boat to eat, we can have it ready for you at the marina when you are ready to head out.” she says.
Summer’s strangle hold is about to let up, it’s just about time to get outside to Eat It and Like It.
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