The Shack’s new ‘Winter Wonderland’ in Virginia Beach features a vendor village

Stacy Parker, The Virginian-Pilot

If 2020 has taught restaurateurs anything, it is to adapt or get left in the dust. Mike and Mariah Standing switched gears at The Shack during the early days of the pandemic by opening a market with food items hard to find at some grocery stores.

If you missed The Shack’s grocery market in the spring, you’ve got another chance to shop for fresh seafood, produce and grab-and-go meals with an added bonus this fall: handmade art and crafts.

The Standings, owners of The Shack, have launched a new “Winter Wonderland" event at their outdoor Oceanfront restaurant. Pumpkins will soon be replaced with Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands arriving Thanksgiving weekend. The new “vendor village,” featuring dozens of local artists and crafters, kicked off Saturday.

“COVID killed my craft show fairs,” said artist Valene Dallos, who uses resin epoxy to create ocean-inspired designs on wood. “I was super excited to be able to do something like this after not being able to do anything since February."

The fall grocery market is much the same as in the spring but with a few new seasonal twists: sweet potato biscuits with pimento cheese ($11 a bag); rockfish chowder ($18 a quart); pickled green beans for stirring Bloody Marys ($8 a jar); and pulled pork barbecue ($14 for 2 pounds).

Shopper Aileen Schmidt enjoyed walking around the spacious venue. Almost everyone was wearing masks except restaurant guests eating meals at the tables. The market is indoors, but about half of the vendors are set up at tables outside among The Shack’s lush landscaping.

“It’s has a nice little feel to it,” Schmidt said. “It’s a cozy environment.”

The vendor village opens at noon on Saturdays and Sundays. Arrive early for the best selections. Antwain Britt, a former mixed martial artist turned cookie-maker, sold out of dog treats within a couple of hours.

Several customers stopped by jewelry-maker Erica McGinn’s table Saturday afternoon. The native of Hawaii incorporates crystals and shells in her designs. The pandemic actually helped her churn out new, creative rings and earrings.

“I had material shipped to me and just went to work,” McGinn said.

Stacy Parker, 757-222-5125, stacy.parker@pilotonline.com

If you go

What: The Shack’s Winter Wonderland

When: Winter Market: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily; Vendor Village: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sundays; Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands arrive Nov. 27.

Where: The Shack, 712 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach

Info: theshackvb.com/winterwonderland

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