I filter through coffee shops pretty fast. I’ve had a half dozen favorites, in two years. This season’s edition is Pop’s Market on Grace. At the time of writing this, their website states that they are “coming soon to center city RVA.” They are, in reality, already here. Try their Facebook page, instead, for consistent updates.

My favorite section of Pop’s menu is the sandwiches. They make their breads (sourdough, baguettes, bagels, biscuits, etc) in house, and generously load them with tantalizing combinations of flavors. I always try to talk someone into splitting one of these big ol’ sandwich with me, or I save half. Gourmet evening fare (served 5:30pm-closing) isn’t the vibe I first read (maybe because of the name), but the chef left me surprised. Take a look through some of these food photos, to get an idea and whet your appetite.

I love sitting with my laptop, at the counter, looking out onto Grace Street — string lights, hydrangea, and bricks. Bonus points for a location just around the block from Ben’s office. (Newly located office; hence, newly discovered favorite.) Pop’s serves hot or iced Rostov’s coffee, and (I asked them about this last week.) will soon have an espresso machine, in all its caffeinating glory. They just opened last fall, and are communicative about ongoing improvements (like half sandwiches and espresso machines). I’m hoping eventually they’ll be open on Sundays and Mondays, too.

To find a good parking spot, start on 4th street (which is one-way here), between Franklin and Grace. There are free two-hour spots on the first half of the right side, and all the way up on the left side. If there aren’t any there, when you hit Grace (also one-way), turn left. All those spots on the left are free for two hours, also. Please set a timer for two hours. Just do. So many meter maids right there. Or ride your Vespa, and park it on the sidewalk, within your window view.

Published by Bethany Lansing