Shoppe Birmingham might be my favorite place in the whole city. Yes, me, a fresh Southern transplant of barely two months, already proclaiming her favorite place. But I can’t help it. It is a flower lover’s dream—and it takes me to Paris in a good way.
Amy and I went early—early as in 8:30am. An excellent choice, as the parking was abundant. (My principal nightmare is parallel parking Fitz in a tight spot. That’s just a recipe for stalling…or worse.) Morning dew still glistened on the café tables and sunlight streamed through the trees, bathing the greenhouse in an irresistible delicious golden light.
I had heard about Shoppe Birmingham (and its café neighbor, General Birmingham) a while ago but had never had the time to go until now. It’s really a crying shame I hadn’t gone earlier! I’m contemplating making it a weekly or bi-monthly trip, just for a slice of the olive oil cake or maybe a cup of tea while I read (one of my goals is to read more this year).
We wandered through General, fingering the flowers and beautifully curated merchandise as a man tucked into his coffee cake and a book at the Art Deco-inspired bar. Eventually, we made our way to the counter, ordering our way through the pastry case: a miso-lavender scone, ginger chocolate chip cookie, and slice of olive oil cake, plus tea for two. We installed ourselves on the patio, enjoying the crisp air running through our hair, and proceeded to taste our way through the spread.
I am obsessed with the olive oil cake. I’m pretty sure I know the recipe, but I made the mistake (though I excuse myself as I was not of legal drinking age and could not convince my mother to make the purchase) of leaving out the Grand Marnier. ESSENTIAL. The olive oil cake was at once soft and fluffy, yet dense with a crackling crust crumbling with sugar. A hint of citrus poked through, which complimented the fruitiness of the olive oil. I talked about this cake all day.
The ginger chocolate chip cookie was pleasant. At first, I was afraid the ginger would be overwhelming, but it was not. The miso-lavender scone was the only disappointment, due to the fact that the miso flavor did not break through the butter layers. Otherwise, it was an expertly executed scone, and the flower-lover in me appreciated the fresh sprig adorning the top.
After finishing the last of the tea, we headed next door for a proper walk through Shoppe Birmingham. The sidewalk brims with plants in elaborate planters, and the artists in us appreciated more than one bust. Pumpkins galore, roses, topiaries, and more overflowed in such abundance that encouraged me to remember the joy of the harvest.
The tiny greenhouse, which may catch the eye, hides behind it a vast selection of plants and flowers, plus chairs for those who’d like to just sit and take it all in. There are so many gardening knickknacks, and it’s peaceful to just take a stroll through the short path, admiring the plants.
Visit Shoppe Birmingham
- 3815 Clairmont Avenue 35222
- Shoppe Birmingham hours: 9am-5:30pm Monday-Saturday; 12-4pm Sunday
- General Birmingham hours: 8am-5:30pm Monday-Saturday; 12-4pm Sunday; Lunch 11am-3pm Tuesday-Saturday
I am a Birmingham, AL portrait photographer specializing in the female portrait, children, love stories, and (personal) brands. I’m also always ready to photograph destination portraits in Paris & Provence! Want to work together? Get in touch! I’d love to know your story. If you need fine art prints & posters to decorate your home, check out my print shop.