A New Twist on a Traditional Favourite

By Sarah Kerton

As we head into our second COVID-style summer, patios are opening up and outdoor dining looks to become a bigger part of our socializing—weather permitting. It’s the perfect atmosphere for one of Thunder Bay’s successful restaurateurs to open a new business focused on taking the organizational distress out of your next outdoor picnic, and instead creating a long-lasting, happy memory of summer bliss with good food and friends.

Bianca Garofalo, owner and manager of some of Thunder Bay’s favourite restaurants like El Tres, Bight, and Giorg, is set to launch Picnicki, a picnic service offering a bistro-style menu and everything you need to have a fun experience dining outside. With an easy pick-up spot at Prince Arthur’s Landing, customers can grab their basket at the take-out window beside Bight Restaurant, facing the splash pad. The basket comes with everything for a fantastic picnic, including the blanket, napkins, utensils, food, and beverages. Buyers can order additional features depending on the theme of the basket.

Like so many new businesses that have sprung up in the COVID era, it’s easy to assume that the current climate was the inspiration for the idea. However, Garofalo says it was actually an idea suggested much earlier. “The idea originated at a family dinner many years ago with my late father. We were chatting about the industry and ideas for expansion in town and elsewhere and he said ‘What about a picnic basket business?’” she says. “I thought it was brilliant right away but considering what has happened since COVID-19, it ended up being an idea ahead of its time.” The idea has been on Garofalo’s back burner ever since, but she was always busy with other business ventures. Now seems like the perfect time to give people more options for fun and new outdoor experiences.

As for the name—why Picknicki? “The business is named after my mother Nicki,” Garofalo says. “She was someone who loved food and family and we often packed a meal to take to Boulevard Lake or Centennial Park. It seemed appropriate to combine Picnic and Nicki together and pay homage to her in the branding.” Garofalo is currently working with a company on an online ordering app. More details and the launch date will be announced shortly, so get out and get picknicki-ing!

You can follow Picknicki on Instagram @picknicki_thunderbay for updates.