Apparently running one popular restaurant and opening another (plus a companion juice and sandwich shop) does not keep Ericka Burke sufficiently busy.
The Volunteer Park Cafe owner is the latest chef to expand into the world of mercantiles. She's taking over a neighborhood store known as Canal Market at 2919 Fuhrman Ave E and putting her own stamp on the grocery and deli in this familyriffic enclave, close to both Eastlake and Capitol Hill.
The finished product will open in late summer, and sounds like a larger version of her Chop Shop Juice and Provisions planned for Capitol Hill's Chophouse Row, but with produce, proteins, pantry staples, and a cooler dedicated to ice cream and popsicles.
"I want it to be super user friendly," says Burke. So much so that she's offering old-style house accounts so parents can send kids down the street to buy a rotisserie chicken for dinner and stop in later to settle the bill. And if they're smart, those kids will also avail themselves of the selection of candy sold by the pound.
Much of the action will happen at the deli island, starting with a morning buffet of fruit, pastries, yogurt, cereal and the like. And yes, I know we all just got done freaking out about San Francisco's pricey artisanal toast, but I'm going to go ahead and say that her plans for a toast bar full of housemade preserves and fancy whipped butter sound quite lovely. Also happening here: a juice bar, espresso bar pouring Slate Coffee, plenty of prepared salads, and a counter for ordering takeaway panini and baguette sandwiches.
Shelves will be stocked with high-end pantry products and gifty house items; Tess MacDonald of July Floral will handle plants and floral arrangements and seasonal plant-driven occasions like Christmas wreaths or Valentine's Day bouquets.
Which all sounds very quaint, but obviously nearby residents have needs beyond specialty olive oils and growler fills (yes, Canal Market will have both of these). She's planning a small but necessary selection of diapers and toothbrushes, and she's definitely the first chef-turned-shopkeep who has specifically mentioned tampons in our conversation about quotidian staples.
"It's got to be what the neighborhood needs," she says. Even the prosaic ones. "If you run out of toilet paper and you don't want to jump in the car, we're your place."