Skip Brunch for Mother’s Day: Take Mom on a Picnic in Orange County with these Options

Mother’s Day is when you most need your brunch game to be strong.

We love brunch as much as you do, but we don’t love the simmering anxiety of being in a restaurant on its busiest day of the year (besides Valentine’s Day).

Aren’t there better options to celebrate Mom on Mother’s Day in Orange County?

Moms have to make plans for their own mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers and stepmothers too.

To be honest, I don’t know any moms who actually like cheap pink champagne. So let’s make this easy and enjoyable for everyone involved.

There’s no need to cook because you can order takeout from these restaurants but you won’t need reservations and most places below are open on Sunday for your last minute plans. Pack up a picnic basket filled with no-fuss but seriously delicious meals and plenty of desserts and let the kids run free. Just remember to keep the moms from doing any of the setting up or cleanup and you have a perfect Mother’s Day ahead.

Takeout Options on Mother’s Day to Head Outdoors in Orange County



Zov’s is an Orange County institution, and owner Zov Karamardian has been doing it right for nearly 30 years. Everyone else will be lined up for seats, but Zov’s offers Gourmet To-Go family meals at all locations after 3 p.m. Entrees include Whole Rotisserie Garlic Herb Chicken, Rigatone Lamb Ragout and more, plus two Mediterranean-inspired side dishes. Perfect to pick up for sunset outdoors.

Zov’s Tustin, Irvine & Anaheim

Close to: 

  • Santiago Oaks Regional Park
  • Irvine Regional Park

Zov’s Newport Coast 

Close to:

  • Crystal Cove State Beach
  • Turtle Rock Nature Center
  • Nix Nature Center

Blackmarket Bakery

Blackmarket Bakery
Blackmarket Bakery

Blackmarket Bakery has a coconut macaroon thing-y (the Chocolate Coconut Haystack) that’s to die for, and their sandwiches and meals are not too shabby either. Overload on desserts at one of two locations and then head into nature:

Blackmarket Bakery in The Santora Building in Santa Ana

Close to:

  • Santiago Park Nature Reserve

Blackmarket Bakery Costa Mesa

Close to:

  • Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
  • San Joaquin Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary

The OC Mix

ST Pâtisserie Chocolat

The OC Mix is where you can go to get some serious gourmand ingredients. Tons of food options in here, but for takeout look to The Cheese Shop, Bistro Papillote, We Olive, and ST Pâtisserie Chocolat (which also includes a Pastry School).

Close to:

  • Huntington Beach Central Park

Knott’s Berry Farm California Marketplace

Mrs. Knott's Restaurant at Knott's Berry Farm (OC Historical Society)
Mrs. Knott’s Restaurant at Knott’s Berry Farm (OC Historical Society)

If Mom and Grandma are a little more traditional when it comes to dining, get the world famous Knott’s chicken dinner to-go without getting on a single roller coaster. Knott’s offers up to 3 hours free parking to visitors who come to shop or to eat. Reservations at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant may be hard to get for Mother’s Day, but Chicken-To-Go offers the same meals and side dishes, including boysenberry pie, and other boysenberry desserts.

Close to: 

  • Ralph B. Clark Nature Center (20 minutes)

Pascal Restaurants

Orange Coast Magazine
Orange Coast Magazine

You have to plan at least one day ahead for this one because it’s closed on Sundays. Pascal Café and Gourmet Food in San Juan Capistrano is owned by the renowned and award-winning chef Pascal Olhats and was just named best new restaurant by Orange Coast Magazine, and is the feature of a documentary by our buddies at GrubTribe (which just screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival).

The Café is prix fixe, reservation only, but the best deal is their bakery and Epicerie. This is the place to buy homemade soups, French cheeses, smoked salmon, quiches, tarts, spreads, fresh baked goods, and of course, desserts. They also make sandwiches, paninis, salads, and meals to-go (salmon, filet mignon, lamb, etc). If you order a day early, you can order paella or a picnic to-go that includes plates, utensils, bread and butter.

Close to: 

  • Caspers Wilderness Park
  • Dana Point Headlands
  • Doheny State Beach

The Cellar

The Cellar San Clemente

The Cellar in downtown San Clemente is great for takeout with gourmet cheese, dessert, sandwiches, breakfast, and Bear Coast Coffee.

Close to: 

  • San Clemente State Beach
  • San Clemente Pier
  • Trestles
Where to take Mom for Mother's Day in Orange County instead of an overpriced, hectic brunch. Head to the beach and bring a picnic!