As temperatures drop and New York City braces for its first big snowstorm of the season, a Prospect Lefferts Gardens restaurant has transformed its outdoor dining patio into a thriving holiday market, giving local craftspeople a space to hawk their wares in person.
Fjolla Sheholli, the owner of Honey Badger, a “wild to table” dinner-only eatery on Fenimore Street near Flatbush Avenue, said she thought it was the best way to make use of her spacious outdoor dining setup during the day while the restaurant is closed.
“Since we’re not open during the daytime, I thought, ‘What is the best thing we can do?’ said Sheholli. “Maybe to use it with some local community artists.”
Starting the weekend of Dec. 11, local artisans have set up shop in the individual dining cabins Honey Badger has erected. In place of charging rent, Sheholli, who in years past has helped purchase Christmas presents for local families in need, is asking the artists to donate a portion of their sales to a community fund for purchasing gifts, and has also launched a GoFundMe to further those efforts.
“People can come and sell and make something during these uncertain times, while the rest can support them, and it’s going to go back to the community and to a good cause,” she said.
The holiday market isn’t the only initiative Honey Badger has taken during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In the spring, Sheholli and a team of volunteers helped provide daily meals to over 60 homebound seniors in the neighborhood.
“Community plays a key part in supporting the business,” Sheholli said.
Honey Badger’s outdoor patio is also uniquely suited for the market, with a number of individual dining huts that are easily converted into holiday market stalls, complete with air filters and heaters.
During its premiere weekend, the market was host to vendors selling candles, t-shirts, jewelry, and soaps. Honey Badger sits next door to Les’ Blooms, a florist who is selling Christmas trees and wreaths, which Sheholli said has drawn foot traffic to the space and created a holiday market feeling through the small commercial strip on Fenimore Street.
“With the snow this week it’s really going to feel like one of those holiday markets,” she said Tuesday.
Honey Badger Holiday Market, 67 Fenimore St. near Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Dec. 18-20, Noon-5 pm.