Every year, summertime activities kick off around the country on the last Monday of the month of May, Memorial Day. That first warm weathered, holiday weekend signals the unofficial start to summer. It is a prerequisite that the Memorial Day meal is shared al fresco—be it backyard barbecue or a poolside party—and of course, it is all about grilling. The holiday fest is synonymous with burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, and plenty of ice cold beverages. But this year, skip the shopping and don’t worry about manning the grill when you’d rather be jumping in the pool. Mastering Memorial Day is easy, just follow our plan and order these great eats, so you can max your weekend chill time.
The Sandwiches: Champs and Heroes
Sandwiches are a summer picnic party staple, and Memorial Day weekend is the kick-off to many more to come during the months ahead. Champs and Heroes is serving all the sandwiches you could possibly want, from The MJ meatball hero to The Turlington turkey avocado sandwich. Oh, and the best part? There’s champagne involved (it is the world’s first-ever champagne and sandwich shop, after all). Given it’s Memorial Day, you may as well go all out, order a side of homemade chips, and pop more than a few bottles to keep your party guests satisfied.
The Burgers: Genuine Burger
The fun part about not having to flip burgers and dogs all afternoon is that you can instead enjoy classic and elevated burger creations from chef Michael Schwartz’s Genuine Burger. The Secret a juicy beef patty is topped with two slices of melted American cheese, crispy fried onion rings, and two pieces of Applewood bacon. The finale is a slathering of Ranch dressing, plus heirloom tomato, half-sour pickle slices, lettuce, and red onion. Of course, it’s served with a half-sour pickle spear, a low-key summer party staple.
The Chicken: Sam’s Crispy Chicken
If memories of Memorial Day gatherings included buckets of fried chicken, might we suggest upgrading to a fully decked out fried chicken sandwich from Sam’s Crispy Chicken? Sam’s serves up swoon-worthy fried chicken sandwiches that match whatever personal style of fried chicken you crave—from Nashville hot to smothered in BBQ sauce. The Original marries two Southern breaded and fried-until-golden chicken tenders seasoned with their New Orleans-style spice wedged between a soft brioche bun that’s stacked with pickles, coleslaw, and their secret sauce.
The Chips and Soda: Goodees
No Memorial Day party is complete without piles of potato chips and plenty of cold beverages. Goodees offers all of it—from party-sized Lay’s potato chips to 2-liter bottles of Coca-Cola and Sprite. Order a variety of chips, salsa, soda, lemonade, and cranberry juice, and while you’re at it, throw in some Blue Bunny individual sundaes to head off any ice cream cravings that may arise after all the salty and savory ones have been satisfied.
The Fries: Man vs. Fries
Memorial Day and summer also signal the arrival of the street fairs, carnivals, and outdoor festival food, and french fries are a staple here. We can’t even try to hide from fried fair food, and neither should you. Man vs. Fries serves yes, unbelievable, over-the-top french fries that come topped with carne asada or nestled into a burrito alongside Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Their deep-fried chocolate chip cookie dough is crispy on the outside, cakey like a doughnut, and oozes with melted chocolatey goodness from the center. Tack on their OMG Cookie, which is essentially a battered and deep-fried Oreo cookie with melted cream filling and their Fryedcheesecake fried cheesecake) and this Memorial Day feast will be one for the books.