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Union Picnic or Pies 'N Thighs?

My brother is a big barbecue aficionado, and we will be attending a concert in McCarren Park this weke. Want to have a late lunch/early dinner at either Pies N Thighs or Union Picnic beforehand. Which one is more highly recommended?


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  1. I like Union Picnic better than P-N-T's. You have a better selection and larger servings at Union Picnic. P-N-T's is good if you are in the 'hood drinking and want some fried chicken (the bbq is okay, the chicken is good) Never been disappointed at U.P.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Huffy

      Plus, the wait at P&T is super long--you'll need to eat before you go out to eat.

      1. re: Huffy

        oh, yeah, and the other thing about P-N-T's is they run out of food early. If you go an hour before they close they will be out of either the chicken or the pork and most of the sides.

        1. re: Huffy

          As Martha would say, I think that is A Good Thing! It shows that they are making food fresh every day.

      2. I really, really wanted to love Union Picnic but I just didn't. The decor and vibe is pretty nice but the food is just eh. Pies and Thighs on the other hand is great. I've been back twice in the last week for the pulled pork which is quite simply the best I've had in NYC. Here's the caveat: if you aren't a fan of vinegar-based bbq, then this isn't for you. They give the pork a good, healthy squirt of it. But the pork is really outstanding and smokily delicious. They pack it all in a little box, which would be perfect for seeing a concert in the park.

        If the vinegar in the pork turns you off, apparently the fried chicken is top notch too.

        When I was last there, we tried a bunch of sides and they were also outstanding. The beans had large hunks of that pork in it.

        And the desserts are reason to go alone. I'm not a pie fan but I'm told that they are great. I *am* a cookie fan and I've tried the chocolate chip and the molasses spice. Buttery, chewy and what a cookie should be. Never had a problem with a wait at P&T. Maybe that poster can say how many times this has happened to her?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Abbylovi

          And the macaroni & cheese rocks hard.

          1. re: Abbylovi

            desserts are the standout for me, and i'm not a big sweets fan. the fruit crumbles are spectacular.

            1. re: wleatherette

              Can you get them to go? I am not a fan of the idea of eating pie while sucking in fumes from the bridge.

          2. I tried the mac and cheese and though I appreciated that there was some spice to it (looks like they spike it with cayenne), I didn't love it. My ideal is really thick and cheesey. P&T's sauce was on the thin side. I'd definitely give it another try, though. Especially since you're saying that it is good.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Abbylovi

              It certainly is not the norm, in that it's prepared stovetop, not baked. But I guess the combination of firm pasta and that snappy cheese sauce with cayenne did it for me. I think it would be even better baked though. But I guess it would lose the al dente aspect. I do want to try the fried chicken, and now the fruit crumbles. You can get it all to go.

              1. re: prunefeet

                I agree some of the best and most original, albeit not baked in the "traditional" style. The patato salad is off the chain as well. Word...

            2. Are you aware that Pies N Thighs is about a 30-45 min walk from McCarren Park where as Union Picnic is right there?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ida Red

                You could very easily walk over 3 blocks to Bedford and take the 10min B61 bus ride.

              2. pies and thighs is soooo much better. fried catfish is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. the bbq pork is spicy and flavorful. grits are great and other sides great to. and the biscuits and desserts are excellent.

                1. I've eaten at both places within the last two weeks. I had good food (catfish) at both, but like the sides better at Pies 'n' Thighs. The green beans were spectacular, as was the cornbread. A friend had the BBQ pulled pork from P+T and said it was delicious. However, I was wanting BBQ chicken and P+T seems to only offer it fried (and they were out of chicken by 8pm). There's a much bigger menu at Union Picnic.

                  The catfish I had at P+T was better than the catfish I had at Union Picnic and the desserts at P+T looked divine (I was too full). We had no wait for a table either place, but service was faster at P+T. Union Picnic is definitely closer to the park (how long would you have to wait for the B61? I don't know) and "looks nicer," but I prefer Pies 'n' Thighs for flavor.

                  1. P+T is the best BBQ I have ever had in new york. In my experience the wait has never been an issue although I go on the early side when most w'burgers are still nursing hangovers. They have a decent brunch there as well. The service there is friendly if not all that attentive, and there's something about those cute girls wearing those cotton aprons that reminds me of that house in the country I never grew up in.

                    1. Here's another feather in the cap of Pies N Thighs -- we had the hash and eggs yesterday and it was quite easily the best hash I've ever had. A lovely salsa atop two eggs overeasy with potatoes, onions and tender juicy meat. We got a biscuit on the side and a donut for dessert. Both were EXCELLENT. And the total? $11. We will be back often!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: chompchomp

                        Oh I am such a sucker for hash. Was this a breakfast/brunch item? A special?

                        1. re: Abbylovi

                          then you've got to try this. it's pulled pork hash, and it's a regular item on the brunch menu. the catfish and grits plate is stellar, also. i don't think this place does anything that's less than delicious.

                      2. i live on the same block as P+T and its almost impossible to pass up their satanically good cookies...and grits...even the iced tea is good!

                        i need to move.