Just a few of VPC's tasty treats in the store. Photo via Volunteer Park Cafe's Facebook page.

Whoever started that whole orange-in-the-stocking thing was pure genius—edible gifts truly are the best gifts. And you know what’s better than an orange? Pie. Or cheese. Or bags of homemade granola.

Starting next Tuesday, December 10, you can pick up all of these eatable items—and a greater selection of local and imported items carefully curated by owner Ericka Burke—at Volunteer Park Cafe’s holiday popup shop. “The idea is that, for the holidays, you’ll be able to grab a few culinary things on your way to a party,” Burke says. In addition to sweet treats dreamed up by baker Emily Weeks—homemade pies, granola, pumpkin brittle, peppermint bark, chocolate toffee, etc.—you can also find chocolates, charcuterie, jams, vinegars, cheeses, olive oils, and even honey made by a teenager down the street, plus a few non-food items like candles and soap.

What’s most exciting about this is that Burke is using the popup as a testing ground to see if the neighborhood takes advantage of the little mercantile. She explained that the legal name of the place is Volunteer Park Cafe and Marketplace, but they’ve dropped the market idea over the years. The hope is, if this does well, it can be a permanent fixture in the cafe. She’d even like to add some tabletop items like locally made kitchen linens, vintage knife sets, that kind of thing. “We’ll see,” she laughs. “I may be sitting on a lot of cheese and olive oil.” 

If you go, Burke urges you to pick up her personal favorite gift item this year: a smoked olive oil she’s imported from Spain. Hours of the cafe are Tuesday to Friday, 7-4:30 and 5:30-9; Saturday 8-4:30 and 5:30-9; and Sunday 8-4:30. 

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