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November 25, 2014 | Avalon RestaurantRonna Dewey, Dish Works

West Chester PA — ‘Tis the season for gift giving! Finding that perfect present for that special someone in your life is difficult enough without having to deal with the crowds and chaos of mall shopping. Avoid the hassle of hordes of shoppers, parking problems and long lines and shop local in downtown West Chester.

To make it even easier to find that unique gift, enjoy FREE parking at the meters, garages, and parking lots on Black Friday (November 28) and on Sunday (November 30). On Small Business Saturday (November 29), there is free meter parking until 5 p.m.

If you are fond of a food lover and need to find something special for him or her, look no further than the shops and restaurants that line our quaint, walkable downtown. From gift cards to gift sets, West Chester has you covered.

Chef/Owner Jon Brandt-Lee’s modern Italian restaurant offers more than just a good meal. Give the gift of an experience with a visit to The Chef’s Table, where six guests will enjoy a mega-feast prepared by Chef Brandt-Lee himself. Or get the royal treatment with a six-course tasting for eight in a private room with a private chef and a personal server.

Avalon’s locally sourced, handcrafted cutting boards and butcher blocks are both practical and whimsical. The cheese-lover in your life will rave about the swine and cheese pig board, and the wine-lover will swoon over this wine and cheese board that comes with glasses and a $20 gift card. 116 E. Gay St.; 610-346-4100;

A Taste of OliveA Taste of Olive
Offering the freshest selection of extra virgin olive oils, A Taste of Olive also has traditional and flavored premium balsamic vinegars from small-batch producers worldwide. You can further enjoy a wide array of the finest sea salts, spices, tapenades and black and white truffle products suitable for gifting.

Take the guess work out of gifting with the store’s prepared packages. From the hot and spicy gift set to the oil and vinegar sampler, A Taste of Olive makes shopping a breeze. Don’t see something you like? You can always custom design your own gift box. 26 S. High St.; 610-429-0292;

Carlino’s Specialty Foods
There is a little something for everyone — from the novice foodie to the gourmet — at Carlino’s. Besides their delicious prepared foods, cookies, cakes and pastries available to bring to your next holiday party, you can purchase such items as jams, premium coffees, mustards, dressings, and pastas to create a personalized gourmet gift basket. Or get a Taste of Carlino’s with a basket that includes Carlino’s extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, classic marinara sauce, imported artisanal pasta, stuffed olives, rustic artisan crackers and a gourmet chocolate bar. 128 W. Market St.; 610-696-3788;

West Chester Grower’s Market
Celebrating its 20th year at the corner of Church and Chestnut Streets, West Chester Grower’s Market is a producer-only market. That means that all of the high-quality, locally grown, seasonal produce and wide selection of baked goods, cheese, free-range eggs, pasture-raised meats, flowers, bedding plants, dog treats, handcrafted soaps and more that you’ll find there is produced directly by market’s farmers and artisans.Carlino's Market

Give the gift of the WCGM in the form of Market Dollars redeemable for purchases from any market vendor. Available in $5 increments, they come in an attractive gift folder and may be purchased at the community table or via any vendor. The WCGM is open every Saturday from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. from May through the end of November, Saturdays in December from 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and the first and third Saturdays of each month from January through April from 10 a.m.–12 p.m. Chestnut & Church Streets;

Éclat Chocolate
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Give your sweetie something sweet this holiday season with chocolates created by master chocolatier Chris Curtin. From the wine-lover’s box that contains 12 pieces featuring Mollydooker Shiraz truffles, champagne truffles and traditional-style dark chocolate truffles to the destination bar tasting flight that includes six bars—each one evoking tastes from around the globe—there is no better gift for an educated eater than the gift of chocolate. 24 S. High St.; 610-692-5206;

Sprout Music Collective
Membership at Sprout Music Collective is an ideal gift for the food appreciator in your life who also has a love for great local music. Brought to you by the same owner as Roots Cafe, this new restaurant to the West Chester scene offers fun live music along with seasonal handcrafted cocktails, local beer and wine and tapas-style, locally sourced seasonal cuisine. Sprout is a member-based club so members never have to pay any cover charges, will be able to attend special events and can take advantage of drink specials throughout the year. Membership fees are very reasonable, only $40 for the entire year, and can be purchased at the door. 130 E. Prescott Alley; 610-696-6006;

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
Iron Hill Brewery & RestaurantIs a beer-lover on your gift list? Award-winning Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant has many gift options. For the hard to buy for, Iron Hill makes it simple with gift cards that can be purchased at the restaurant or conveniently online. For the dedicated enthusiast, how about a membership to their King of the Hill Rewards Club? The recipient will get rewards for dining in the restaurant as well as access to exclusive member-only events and other membership-only perks.

But what about actual beer? Iron Hill has a selection of bottled reserves available for the discriminating beer enthusiast, or simply fill up a growler as a gift—perfect to bring along to a holiday gathering. 3 W. Gay St.; 610-738-9600;

Still Stumped?
Purchase a gift card to one of downtown West Chester’s restaurants. With over 65 to choose from, there is something for every taste and price point. Visit our Dining Page and comprehensive restaurant directory for more ideas!
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Nestled in the heart of the Brandywine Valley, downtown West Chester reflects the small-town charm and cosmopolitan tastes that prompted The Philadelphia Inquirer to call West Chester “. . . one of the world’s most perfect small towns.” West Chester is your perfect option for spending the day sightseeing and shopping in over 60 boutiques for items you won’t see at the mall. There are over 65 award winning restaurants for every taste and budget—many offer entertainment in the evening making it a great place to wind down after a long day.

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