Walking through the doors of Zuckercreme, you smell fall. The market’s owner Brittany Sigal stands at the shop counter behind displays of baked goods and Mutt’s Coffee bags, serving up fresh apple cider, cherry pie and, as the sign outside says, “a damn fine cup of coffee.”
There’s a fruit, vegetable and floral mural painted by local artist Brianna Vizcaino stretching across one of the walls that looks like something a child could wonder about for hours or a cool librarian might get tattooed all over their body.
Zuckercreme, which means sugar cream in German, is a neighborhood market that is part cafe, part rotating cast of wares. Located in Montavilla, it looks like a knickknack shop from the outside, but it’s full of useful—surprisingly practical—locally made goods.
But it’s also obvious that Sigal takes her own approach to whatever Zuckercreme will become. Over the summer, Sigal created the hugely popular series of pop-ups called Strawberry Museum in the Southeast Portland neighborhood’s Küchenhaus. Local vendors sold strawberry-themed art, pastries, kombucha, shaved ice, clothing and more.
At the moment, a month out from Zuckercreme’s first soft opening, some areas of the cafe have come together—like the corner where Sigal sells Mountain Mama Knitting Co’s pumpkin-tone knit hats.
The shop feels like a baby Pattie’s Home Plate Cafe—if you ever made it up to the St. Johns mash-up of a ‘50s-era breakfast diner and an art supply store before it closed in 2019.
“I’m from the Midwest,” Sigal says, “and I think I accidentally made a Cracker Barrel.”
Of course, Zuckercreme is almost the antithesis of the homogenized road-stop eatery. The wares you buy at Sigal’s shop are all made by local vendors. You’ll find a variety of things like vegan nail polish by Palate Polish, handmade crocheted nylon scrubbers by Ellyontherun, Warm Vanilla Oat bath bombs and fall-scented handmade soaps by Bumble Bath Soap, and even pies made from felt—which Sigal says she’s teaching a workshop on soon.
The rest of the storefront is furnished with brightly clothed tables, which during the week await cafe visitors and on Sundays—at the weekly pop-up markets—are rearranged to display baked goods and other delights.
Sigal remains dedicated to the pop-up model she was so successful with over the summer. She often works with the same local vendors, asking if they’re interested in contributing to the ever-changing themes.
November is pie month at Zuckercreme, and at the weekly Sunday pop-up, all the cafe tables are filled with different pies. Among them, Crystal Ayala sells unconventional but memorable fish sauce pecan pies (it’s in the aftertaste!) and Darth Baker offers a classic twist in the form of pumpkin pie cheesecake.
Also available at the cafe, Zuckercreme sells ice cream, baked goods from Yellow Heart Sunshine, and fresh apple cider made by Sinensis Tea Company PDX—which makes apple cider only in the month of November.
Zuckercreme will change with the seasons—and because it’s still a very new shop, Sigal seems focused on continuing to bring in new vendors and items. If you want to get a bath bomb and vintage jacket and top that off with a slice of cherry pie, Sigal’s boutique market is the place.
EAT: Zuckercreme, 414 SE 81st Ave, 317-366-6938, instagram.com/zuckercreme. 10 am-6 pm Wednesday-Saturday, weekly pop-ups 10 am-4 pm Sunday.