Ericka Burke and Nick Castleberry in the kitchen at Volunteer Park Cafe.

UPDATE: Don’t get too used to Castleberry’s famous brisket. I just heard from VPC’s PR rep that he is moving out of town in two weeks.

Are you ready for summer in Seattle?

I jogged by Volunteer Park Cafe this morning, where I took advantage of an opportunity to stop jogging. I went to check out VPC’s new chicken coop, behind the restaurant in a backyard area that is currently being dug up to create a raised-bed garden and an outdoor-seating area made from repurposed bricks.

What will grow in the garden? The list is long, here are highlights: yellow Brandywine tomatoes and French breakfast radish, Cherokee wax bush beans and 12 varieties of sunflower, Bloomsdale savoy spinach and freckles romaine lettuce. The hens will be responsible for laying eggs, which will be used for cafe purposes.

Rogue chef Nick Castleberry has popped up behind the line as the restaurant’s sous. A veteran of Sitka and Spruce and Artemis, Castleberry was last seen firing up stupidly delicious brisket and pork belly over semolina at the Summit Public House. No one really believed that would last, but he is in good company with the ladies of VPC.

The restaurant will also be introducing a Sunday supper series this summer, to be held on the last Sunday in June, July, August, and September. It will be a three-course, family-style dinner on the patio. The price is TBD but will be in the neighborhood of $25. Also in the cafe’s plans: Fourth of July picnic baskets.

These baskets will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $12-$15 and will include homemade lemonade, a baguette sandwich, two side salads, watermelon, and some baked goods. Order by July 1.

Oh wow, I think the sun just came out.

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