Pera’s plan to sell picnic baskets may seem like just another sop for Hampton-bound swells; really, it’s part of the restaurant’s master expansion strategy. Executive chef Jason Avery tells us that “Pera was never intended to be a one-shot deal; we’re looking to expand in the city, and across America.” Pera hasn’t found the right space or lease yet, but when it does, it will follow the lead of what Avery is already calling “our flagship restaurant.”
In the meantime, the place is colonizing Bryant and Central Parks with their picnic baskets, which serve groups ranging from two to eight people, and Long Island with their raw, vacuum-packed kebabs, which any well-heeled urbanite (they’re $12 to $18 per skewer) can throw on the grill at a moment’s notice. The baskets contain all the Pera standards: roasted whipped eggplant, chicken and lamb brochettes, pistachio baklava, etc. You can think of them as reproductive pods, spreading like spores among the affluent, making them long for their own branch of Pera nearby.